Tiki Barber, Mike Francesa go at it on air


Former Giants running back Tiki Barber announced his intention to return to football in March.  Since then, he has been very careful about what he says and where he says it.

Until today.

Possibly buoyed by the generally positive (or, at a minimum, non-negative) reaction to his Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel interview (the AP, for example, focused on his self-serving claim of post-football depression and ignored the truly interesting stuff), Tiki decided to tiptoe into talk radio’s Sarlacc Pit on Wednesday, agreeing to an interview with Mike Francesa of WFAN.

Barber was joined on the line with agent Mark Lepselter, at Tiki’s request.  And Tiki bristled at the suggestion by Francesa that Tiki’s broadcasting career was a “big failure.”

“I think you’re throwing a little bit of hyperbole out there, Mike, because I didn’t have a ‘big failure’ in broadcasting,” Barber said, per the WFAN website.  “I think if you laid the stage as you and Chris at the time tried to, that I was [to] be the next Matt Lauer, yeah, you could say it was a failure.  But I had a lot of fulfillment at NBC.  I did a lot of great stories that I think had impact over the three years that I was there.”

Still, Barber acknowledged during the HBO interview with Armen Keteyian that Barber allowed the high expectations to arise and to exist.  So any effort by Tiki to blame others for setting a bar under which he spent years comfortably limbo-ing seems a tad lame, to say the least.

I don’t consider my time at NBC a failure,” Barber insisted.

Of course, that’s not what he told Keteyian.  Here’s the quote we transcribed from the review copy of the interview:  “Once you try and fail, it’s hard to keep trying.  It really is.  It got to the point where there were times where I would just sit in my office with nothing to do.  I crafted this career, right?  And I’d gotten to the point where I was right where I wanted to be, and then failed.  It’s hard to deal with.”

Francesa was more blunt.  “The guys at NBC, and I know all of them, they felt that you did a bad job and they said that they thought you were entitled,” Francesa said.  “I mean, they were not complimentary about your work.  Let’s not run away from that, this is part of the story.”

“If you tell me who it was and you get that person on air, I will have a debate with them,” Barber said.  “I think that’s cowardly of someone to talk behind someone’s back and not tell them, because the truth of the matter is, I don’t know what I could have done better at NBC.”

But, yet again, Barber is forgetting what he said to Keteyian.  Barber admitted that he wasn’t comfortable with or skilled at the concept of interviewing people.  “Once you sit down, you have to nail it,” Barber said.  “You have to connect with the subject.  That’s a skill set that I had never used or worked on.  I tried my best.  I really did.”

He also tried his best to fend off Francesa, turning the tables in the face of relentless criticism of his broadcasting career.  But Francesa wouldn’t let up.  And it was fun to listen to.

47 responses to “Tiki Barber, Mike Francesa go at it on air

  1. Tiki, I agree with Francesa… you were a dismal failure as a broadcaster. Terrible. Just awful. Get that ego in check, man.

  2. Mike Francesa is a joke, how many time after the fact does he say “I knew that was gonna happen, I was telling so and so the other day”; well your on the air all the time, why didn’t you tell your listerers BEFORE it happened? He a joke. No doubt he made up his freinds at NBC, to make his point.

  3. gotta listen to the whole interview! Great stuff! Tiki is such a loser!!!! Why would you even bring your agent on the line????????? Tiki’s second run in the nfl will be no better than his first run in at nbc.

  4. It’s “cowardly” to talk behind someone’s back? Good thing Tiki never did that to Eli. Tiki translated means “short memory”

  5. “I think that’s cowardly of someone to talk behind someone’s back and not tell them, because the truth of the matter is, I don’t know what I could have done better at NBC.”

    Cowardly? sort of like leaving your pregnant wife for another woman…..

    “You have to connect with the subject. That’s a skill set that I had never used or worked on”
    (in my marriage)

  6. The only reason this is news is because there’s a lockout and nothing interesting is going on.

  7. It’s even more surprising this dope is thinking of coming back to the NFL. What team really wants him? I’d be more in tune to taking Herschel Walker before Tiki!!

  8. The interviewer should get some credit for not backing down from Tiki and his puppet agent. Tiki thinks he got fired because the media landscape changed? GTF outta here.

  9. I like it when guys like Francesa actually confront pro athletes and put the tough questions to them. Screw the fluff they get all the time.

  10. “Mike Francesa is a joke”

    With all due respect, you’re being way too kind to Francesa who would have to improve ten-fold in order to reach joke status.

  11. Listen, i am no Tiki fan by a long shot. But come on, what is the point of bringing someone on the air and totally berate them and smear him for his failures. I guess some people find this entertaining. Not me. But I wonder why Barber even agreed to go on this guy’s show knowing that was going to happen.

  12. It just came off horrible for Tiki to have his agent there on the line to hold his hand… This guy really can’t make a good decision, it’s gonna be a very short comeback.

  13. Tiki’s saying how big of a failure he was before saying that he wasn’t a failure reminds me of the Dave Chappelle “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” where Rick James said “I didn’t rub my feet on his couch! What? I’m gone rub my feet on someone’s couch? Like its just somethin’ to do come on! I got more sense than that. Yeah, I rubbed my feet on his couch.”

  14. Calling any NBC journalist a “failure” is really just being redundant.

    It’s like saying water’s wet, politicians are corrupt, Vick’s a dirtbag, or the Vikings suck…

    P.S. I suppose this comment was deleted the first time around because it hit a bit too close to the mark, and I apologize if truth (like love–according to the hairband “Nazareth”) hurts.

    Hey, didn’t you guys also recently censor/delete GOD, too?

    At least I’m in ‘good’ company. Ha.

    What’s the matter? You guys are all master disher-outers, but can’t take a little of your own snark?

    Come on, ladies.

  15. Perfect. Two bitter has beens that use to be relevant in the NY sports scene…..LMAO!!!!!

    They made great radio today, but both suck at T.V. broadcasting. Anybody remember fat Francesa doing college basketball? He made Tiki look like Howard Cosell. This is funny.

  16. Definitely not getting Tiki’s back cause I love that the Giants went on to win with out him right after he retired, but I don’t think he was talking about Eli behind his back. He was on television when he said it. That’s hardly talking behind his back. Not to mention it was his rebuttal to being asked about Eli.

  17. I wouldn’t want this condescending egomaniac on my team if he were to play for free. Why do you think the New York Giants are not even considering bringing him back if he was such a “great guy” and a “leader”?
    I Love a guy who goes on air with his “agent” so that if he says something stupid, the agent will be there to try to smooth things over.

  18. smacklayer,

    tiki’s failures in broadcasting had less to do with ability and more to do with self-destruction. He cursed on air, he banged an intern.

    These are things that define character that matters greatly to the team (and the fan base of that team) which he will eventually play for.

    Tiki’s knock in the NFL was the he was not a team player. Asking him about his broadcasting career is a good opportunity to see if he claims responsibility for that. Which he does not.

    It is a good opportunity to get an idea if he has changed or if he is the same “me first” player he was knocked for with the Giants.

  19. Sarlacc Pit ??? Very fitting it looks like a big a-hole… Like Tiki… Great Return of the Jedi Reference, or Sad however you want to look at it.

  20. Tiki bristled at the suggestion by Francesa that Tiki’s broadcasting career was a “big failure.”

    Funny but I watched Tiki’s Real Sports interview early this morning and that’s exactly how he described his own broadcasting career–as a failure. So why argue about it with radio dude after he did all that work making himself seem pitiable in the HBO interview? But I’d like to know what makes Armen Keteyian so sure Barber’s going to wind up in Pittsburgh.

  21. Just when you think Tiki couldn’t POSSIBLY get any douchier, he displays himself as a “dish it out but can’t take it” guy. Hey Tiki, you’re an overachiever in THAT category at least!

    Smacklayer I usually like your takes on things but not here. The guy is a huge turd who couldn’t even admit he did wrong to his wife and kids but instead says his marriage was already bad and he didn’t move in with the intern until he was out of there. No matter what the bleep he does, he always comes back with a variation of “see what had HAP-pened” to try to rationalize it instead of admitting he effed up by saying something like, “You know, I did wrong by my family and it’s embarrassing and I wasn’t raised that way by my mom. I am ashamed and I will be trying my best to do right by them in the future” and DOING IT. I have no problem with anyone he agrees to come on air and talk to verbally abusing him. He deserves every single iota of it.

  22. Tiki was on the Jim Rome show today too, with his agent.

    I felt like puking while listening to him blame everybody but himself for all his failures.

    He’s a bag of scum.

  23. Mike Francesa was way out of line and acting like a real jerk…but working at NBC is the definition of failing…but it could have been worse he could have disappeared at MSNBC and never been seen again.

  24. Loved Tiki as a player. But that interview on WFAN perfectly presents the reason why he did not make it in broadcasting and why most fans [even Giants fans] don’t like him: He is a very shallow man who comes across as cold heart-ed and phoney.

    Towards the end of the interview he asked fans not to judge him as a bad person based on his NBC experience. Can he be any more delusional? Fans judge him as a bad person because of the way he left his wife and children.

  25. both of them are total turds anyhow!
    barber was an awful broadcaster,but francesca ain’t much better!

  26. Tikki yeah, you’ve been an all pro, probowler, in the Giants ring of honor, blah blah blah, but you FAILED at broadcasting which makes you a failure!! LOL….. Mean while we at this site do successful noteworthy things….like…. like… well… comment on Profootball talk non- stories all day long!!! Suck it Tikki you failed! We rock!! :/

  27. Tacky interview in my opinion. It was just way too blunt and purposely used words to take a shot at Tiki’s ego to get a rise out of him, while arguing a minor point.

    Is it that hard to ask him “what is the purpose of coming back to football? is it because your broadcasting career didn’t work out as you would have liked? or because you feel like you can be a strong contributor and miss the game?” Using words like “you failed” “you are a failure” or saying that general people whom Tiki was coworkers with for 3 years are talking without his knowledge is pathetic imo. It was clearly used because Francesa knew it would upset Tiki since it was a sensative subject, as irrelevant as it may be.

    All that said… I can’t stand Tiki Barber

  28. who is this guy to call anyone a failure?
    This guys show is horrible now since MadDog left to go onto a great show now on Howard Sterns Sirius radio.
    Tiki should of asked Mike about the superbowl when he was in the media tent in the rain all by himself meanwhile Maddog was getting all the guest…
    Tiki is a peice of crap but this Mike Francesca saying that hes succesfull is a lie.. He was a little succefull because of Mad Dog since Mad dog this guy gets horrible ratings

  29. So is Mike Fransesca trying to make it appear as if being in the media is more difficult than being an athlete? Don’t get the purpose of that interview.

  30. I’ve never been a Tiki fan, but I love Ronde. As far as all of the hacks at NBC go, it’s just a matter of time before Comcast cleans house on the whole left lot of them. I can’t think of too many reasons to watch NBC anymore, for anything. Their whole operation sucks and is predicated on Bologna and Cheese. Talk about complete failures, NBC is full of them from top to bottom.

  31. riverhorsey says:
    Jun 22, 2011 4:44 PM
    I like it when guys like Francesa actually confront pro athletes and put the tough questions to them. Screw the fluff they get all the time.

    Oh, please.

    Francesa “confronts” athletes he doesn’t like or athletes that play for teams he doesn’t like.

    He hounds Barber, Strahan because he hates them personally, and anyone from the Jets or Mets because he hates those organizations.

    But when he interviews one of his heroes, like Bill Parcells, or anyone in the Yankees organization, he is as big a kiss a** as anyone in the business.

  32. Abbott and Costello……Laurel and Hardy.
    ..Fat Franseca and Tiki. I sennse trend here.

  33. I’m no Tiki fan, but he tried something different and failed. Good for him. Maybe he didn’t like the sound of the word “fail” coming from Mike Francesa’s fat mouth. But I’d like to see Francesa try something besides berating his guests and callers. Let’s see you put a jersey on. Bet you ain’t so tough without a microphone.

  34. Francesca is nothing more than a has-been. The only reason anyone listens to him anymore is because 1050 ESPN only comes in within 3 feet of their transmitter. No Jets and Mets players (the teams he openly hates) will go on with him and most of the Giants and Yankees players (the teams he openly fawns over) refuse to go on with him anymore because of his condescending and arrogant attitude. Go ask Michael Strahan about Mike Dupp.

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