Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mike Francesa Calls Tiki Barber's NBC Career a "Failure"

 The Tiki Barber Comeback Tour keeps getting better and better.  For the most part of a thirty minute radio interview on Wed., interviewer Mike Francesa ripped the ex-New York Giants running back and called Barber's broadcast stint on NBC a "failure."

Barber, who went on the WFAN show to discuss his plans for returning to the NFL this upcoming season after a four year retirement, went on the defensive after Francesa commented on Barber's release from NBC and his presumed grooming to be the next Matt Lauer on the "Today" show. 

"I don't consider my time at NBC a failure," said Barber.

"The guys at NBC, and I know all of them, they felt you did a bad job, and they said you thought you were entitled, said Francesa.

The radio host probably knows something.  Francesa does a Sunday night show in the same NBC building where the "Today" show broadcasts from.  Word travels fast in 30 Rock.

The interview started cordial enough until the the NBC exchange and then the discussion became contentious.  Barber even had his agent, Mark Lepselter, who was in on the call, throw some interference for the ex-running back.

Francesa wouldn't have any of it.

"You're on the line, Mark," interrupted Francesa. " You're not supposed to be his bodyguard."

Barber continued the verbal fray.

"I think it's unfair for you to label it that way," railed Barber.  "I think that's cowardly of someone to talk behind some one's back and not tell them.  I don't know what I could have done better at NBC."

"Tiki, you got fired," said Francesa.

"Oh Did I?  Did I?," questioned Barber.  "Mike, I don't think you know the whole story."

Just last month, Barber caused an uproar when he compared himself to Anne Frank, in a Sports Illustrated interview, after he was asked about hiding from the media in Lepselter's house.

Barber's last game with Big Blue was a wild-card playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of the Giants 2006 season.  He left on bad terms with the front office and fans alike.

The ubiquitous running back jumped directly into the studios at NBC, where he was being prepped for his star turn on the network's morning news program and their NFL pregame shows--sort of an Al Roker, only with muscles.

Barber appeal didn't translate to the TV screen from the locker room.   He was a mediocre host and his spotlight burned out fast after a three year run.  Real fast.

The grinning Barber was let go by NBC after he reportedly left his pregnant-with-twins wife, Ginny, and two kids for an  young intern.

In Wed. interview, the 10-year NFL veteran tried to spike the ball in Francesa's face by claiming the sports-talk host wasn't good at his job either.

"You badger your listeners," said the defensive Barber.  "You badger your interview[ees]."

Barber didn't stop there and said it's not his fault for still being disliked by Giants fans.

"I'm sure it has to do with the fact I criticized Tom Coughlin and he goes on to win a Super Bowl," reasoned Barber.  "Or the conversation I had about Eli Manning that got blown out of proportion...I've always been opinionated."

Really, now?

Tiki, good luck playing with your brother Ronde down in Tampa.

For interview audio.

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