Barber twins form mutual fan club
New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, left, is visited by his twin brother, Ronde Barber, after a recent practice in East Rutherford, N.J.
By RICK STROUD, BRUCE LOWITT and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Minnesota is home to the Twins. But the Giants have a twin -- running back Tiki Barber, the twin brother of Bucs defensive back Ronde Barber.
A year ago, Tiki rooted for the Bucs in the NFC Championship Game that Tampa Bay lost to the Rams 11-6.
Today, Ronde will be hoping his sibling makes it to Super Bowl XXXV played on the Bucs home turf of Raymond James Stadium.
"He was one step away from the Super Bowl and now I'm one step away," Tiki said. "I take some of his experience. You kind of live vicariously when you are a twin. You have all of these different experiences. Fortunately, we have shared -- we will have shared one after this weekend. Hopefully, I can take that step that he was not able to."
MISMATCH: Giants defensive lineman Michael Strahan is one of the NFL's most-feared pass rushers. But he might be the one getting the worst of a collision with the Vikings' Goliath quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
"He's bigger than me," Strahan said. "He's 270, I'm 268. I'm giving up two pounds. It's like tackling myself."
SUPER BOWL OR BUST: Few people expected the Vikings to reach the NFC Championship Game with a first-year starter at quarterback and a suspect defense.
Vikings veteran receiver Cris Carter says he had faith in coach Dennis Green and his teammates.
"I don't believe we're the best team in football," Carter said. "But they're not going to give the trophy to the best team. They're going to give the trophy to the team that plays the best.
"There are some good football teams that are not going to be playing this weekend. There are some great players who are not going to be performing. I think there are certain teams this year that did not have a fear of losing. They thought the trophy was given out in the off-season in all the publications and magazines, and it's not. The NFL championship is won on the field."
THE LATEST RUMOR: Giants defensive coordinator John Fox reportedly is on the short list of coaching candidates for Tom Donahoe, the Bills new president and general manager. Fox and Donahoe worked together at Pittsburgh.
UNDERSTANDABLE: Vikings coach Dennis Green said he was surprised when he heard Giants coach Jim Fassel, a close friend, guarantee the Giants would make the playoffs. Fassel did it to motivate his team and it responded by snapping out of a slump and winning the final five games. "You want to do anything that you think will work," Green said. "That's really what it comes down to. There are a lot of coaches unfortunately losing their jobs right now because it's the nature of the business.
"I think you'd better be pretty tough and not afraid to say what you've got to say," Green added. "If you've got something to say, you might as well say it while you've still got your job."
L.T. PEP TALK: Lawrence Taylor reminded the Giants to do whatever it takes to get to the Super Bowl.
"You've got what you want right here," Taylor said in capping a five-minute speech that kept players riveted on every word. "You can't ask for anything better than this: playing this game, you're 60 minutes away, here at Giants Stadium.
"It can't be any better than that," the Hall of Fame linebacker added. "From the bottom of my heart, we're proud of you, and whatever it takes: get it done."
Taylor's speech ended an emotional final workout. Eight members of the Giants' Super Bowl championship teams of 1986 and 1990 watched the final 30-minute walk-through in a practice facility next to the stadium.
SCALPERS PREVAIL: EBay has pulled ads that apparently were covertly scalping tickets to today's sold-out game.
The online auctioneer pulled ads that blatantly scalped tickets for last Sunday's Giants game against the Eagles. By the end of Friday, sellers had gotten craftier and were offering free "bonus" tickets with the purchase of Giants memorabilia.
At the request of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, eBay pulled the ads before any money changed hands. Through Friday, 182 sites auctioning 437 tickets for the game had been shut down.
Penalties for scalpers can include fines of up to $7,500 for a first offense and $15,000 per violation after that.
Today's Super Bowl story lineup