Ronde and Tiki have had limited roles in their past three meetings, never required to stick or run over the other. Monday night, that likely will change.
By JOANNE KORTH
Published November 23, 2003
TAMPA - Every week, identical twins Ronde and Tiki Barber cheer for one another's teams. Not this week.
The Barbers will become the first twins to face off on Monday Night Football when Ronde and the Bucs host Tiki and the Giants at Raymond James Stadium. This is the fourth time the teams have met since the Barbers entered the league in 1997, but the first in which the brothers will play significant roles.
"I wish I could say what I'm going to feel, but to be honest with you, I have no idea," Ronde said. "It's a different dynamic because I sit there and watch the Giants play and want Tiki to do well and want them to win. Obviously, that can't be the case this week."
On Tuesday, the brothers were in New York City filming intro footage for the ABC telecast. Wednesday, they conducted a conference call with national media. But matching, disappointing 4-6 records are stealing some of the event's thunder.
"A lot of what this game could have been is overshadowed because our records aren't what we'd like them to be," Tiki said. "This game is paramount for both of us. A lot of this brother hype is washed away for both of us, I think."
The teams met each of the Barbers' first three seasons, but one or the other always had a limited role. Ronde remembers pushing Tiki out of bounds during a two-minute drill, but the contact was light.
This time, more dramatic collisions are a virtual certainty. Tiki is the Giants' starting running back, averaging 91.8 rushing yards and 29.1 receiving yards. Ronde is the Bucs' starting right cornerback and second-leading tackler with 83.
At some point, Ronde likely will be in position to tackle his brother, to hit him hard and knock him to the ground - something he never has done in an official game.
"He's No.21 in blue right now; that's about the only way I can approach it," Ronde said. "If I try to get too emotional about it, too wrapped up in playing him, then I'm going to compromise my ability to do my job. I'm going to try to focus on the game, not on Tiki. It's not going to be easy to do, but it's what I've got to do."
And what about Mom?
Usually, Geraldine Barber cheers for the Bucs and Giants. Monday, she will sit in the stands and cheer for neither team.
"It's probably the type of thing a mother could do without," Geraldine said. "I can very easily cheer for my sons without cheering for either team. I guess that's a coward's way out, but I'll cheer for my sons."
The good news?
Barring a rare NFL tie, one of them will win.
The better athlete? The better cook? Who talks more trash? In separate conversations, here's how Tiki and Ronde break down their differences and similarities:
Who would win at arm wrestling?
Ronde: Tiki. He's got me by 20 pounds.
Tiki: I would.
Who dresses better?
Ronde: If you think good dress is suits, four-piece, vest and tie, it's probably Tiki. But if you consider what's hip, what's trendy, definitely me. I can look like him in his suits and stuff; he can't look like me.
Tiki: I do. My wife picks out my clothes.
Who is the better athlete?
Ronde: Honestly, I can say me. I ran hurdles in high school. He was just a sprinter, long jumper. I'm a little quicker. Now, he's faster than I am, but as far as pure athletic ability, I am.
Tiki: He is.
Who looked better with hair?
Ronde: Me. I had the cool, high-top fade. He's always kind of had his hair low, getting ready to be bald.
Tiki: He did. He has a skinny face.
Who tells a better joke?
Ronde: Me. He has a dry sense of humor.
Tiki: He does. He is a cut-up.
Who is more likely to run to the mailbox in his underwear?
Ronde: Me. I'm a little more daring, a little more without inhibitions sometimes.
Tiki: Probably him.
Who is more likely to win at Survivor?
Ronde: Tiki. He is the most resourceful dude I've ever met in my life. Whether it was school, fixing a bike, fixing a computer, he'd figure it out, he'd find a way.
Tiki: It depends on which one. Outback? Caribbean? I probably would. I'm nicer. They'd vote him off.
Who is more likely to keep a secret?
Ronde: Probably Tiki, because he's more quiet.
Tiki: You can trust us both.
Who is more likely to cook dinner for the family?
Ronde: Neither one.
Tiki: Neither one of us. We'd order out.
Who talks more trash?
Ronde: I do. It's the nature of the position.
Tiki: He does. Defensive players naturally talk more trash.
Who is the bigger softie?
Ronde: Wow, probably me. My mom will ask us for stuff and Tiki will flat out say, "No," and I'll kind of waiver on it and say, "Okay." Then I end up having to convince Tiki.
Tiki: Probably me.
Who is the Alpha brother?
Ronde: Tiki. When you watch interviews, watch who dominates the conversation. If I get a word in edge-wise it's little funny things. Tiki gets all the substance, I get all the peripheral.
Tiki: Ronde, by far.
MEET THE BARBERS
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-10; 184.
BORN: April 7, 1975.
HOMETOWN: Roanoke, Va.
NFL: Seventh year.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: A six-year starter, Ronde is among the NFL's best cornerbacks. ... Member of the Super Bowl XXXVII-winning Bucs whose 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game sealed the victory over the Eagles. ... Pro Bowl selection in 2001 with career-high 10 interceptions. ... Career-high three interceptions against Saints on Dec.23, 2001. ... 20 career interceptions rank fifth all-time for Bucs. Third-round pick of the Bucs, 66th overall, in 1997. ... At Virginia, started all 36 games and earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors every season of three-year career. ... Had 15 interceptions, two shy of school record. ... At Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, he won national title in 55-meter hurdles as senior after winning two state championships in 110 hurdles. ... Three-time all-district football selection. ... Shared state male athlete of the year honors with brother Tiki in 1997.
CAREER STATS: 91 games played, 82 starts, 511 tackles, 20 INT, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 110 passes defended.
PERSONAL: Born Jamael Oronde Barber, "First-born Son." ... Married to Claudia, daughters Yammile Rose and Justyce Rosina. ... Featured in national Visa commercial with Tiki. ... Along with Tiki, selected to People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People and Sports Illustrated for Women's Sexiest Male Athletes in 2001.
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-10; 200.
POSITION: Running back.
BORN: April 7, 1975 (seven minutes younger than Ronde).
HOMETOWN: Roanoke, Va.
NFL: Seventh year.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: A starter much of his career, Tiki is among the most productive and exciting players in the NFL. ... The Giants' all-time leader in total yards with 10,278. ... Played in Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium, where the Giants lost to the Ravens. ... Led the NFC with 1,984 yards from scrimmage in 2002. ... Has 13 career 100-yard games and is on pace for his third 1,000-yard season with 918 through 10 games. ... Rushed for career-high 203 yards against the Eagles on Dec.28, 2002. ... Second-round pick of the Giants, 36th overall, in 1997. ... At Virginia, set school record with 3,389 rushing yards but mark was broken in 1999 by current Buc Thomas Jones by 9 yards. ... First-team All-ACC as junior and senior. ... Three-time letter winner in track. ... At Cave Spring High in Roanoke, was a SuperPrep All-American. ... Twice won state indoor and outdoor long jump titles. Also won triple jump as a senior.
CAREER STATS: 1,137 rushes for 5,111 yards and 28 TDs, 4.4 yards per carry, 399 receptions for 3,440 yards and eight TDs.
PERSONAL: Born Atiim Kiambu Barber, "Fiery-tempered King." ... Married to Ginny, son A.J. ... Lives on the East Side of Manhattan. ... Involved in many civic and charitable organizations. ... During season, has show on ESPN radio. ... High school class valedictorian.
Seeing double: Other notable twins in sports
JOSE AND OZZIE CANSECO
BORN: July 2, 1964.
COMMENT: The Canseco twins were born in Havana, Cuba. Jose was an All-Star slugger who hit 462 home runs in 17 seasons. He was rookie of the year in 1986 and MVP in 1988, both with the Athletics. A career minor-leaguer, Ozzie played 24 major-league games. Jose, who admitted to steroid abuse during his career, is under house arrest in Miami for probation violation. Ozzie is serving four months in a Punta Gorda jail for possessing an illegal anabolic steroid and driving with a suspended license.
HORACE AND HARVEY GRANT
BORN: July 4, 1965.
COMMENT: Born in Sparta, Ga., the Grants, both forwards, are the top rebounding brother tandem in the NBA with nearly 12,700 combined. They went to Clemson, though Harvey transferred to a junior college and later Oklahoma. Both were first-round draft picks in 1987, Horace 10th overall, Harvey 12th. Horace, 6 feet 10, 245 pounds, plays for the Lakers in his 17th season. He won four titles as a member of the Bulls from 1987-94. Harvey, 6-8, 195 pounds, retired in 1999 after 11 seasons.
RICH AND RON SUTTER
BORN: Dec. 2, 1963.
COMMENT: The youngest of the six Sutter brothers to play in the NHL, Rich and Ron were raised in an 800-square-foot, four-bedroom house on a farm in Viking, Alberta. They made their debuts in 1982 with the Penguins and Flyers, respectively. Rich, a right wing, scored 149 goals in 13 seasons. Ron, a center, scored 205 goals in 19 seasons. Both now are pro scouts, Rich for the Wild and Ron for the Flames. Ron and his wife have twin daughters, Reigan and Madisen.