Let’s recap; father of the year Tiki Barber would like to resume his dormant NFL career because of his pending divorce and failed broadcasting career desire to compete again. Barber shit all over his teammates, and his former coach. He smugly flaunted his Today show gig until they dropped him like 3rd period French. Now alone (not counting his 24-year-old girlfriend), broke, and hated by everyone, Barber is trying to rebuild his shattered image. Too bad, some of the guys he played with, and against, also have platforms to express their opinions.

Make me smile, NFL.com:

“I didn’t think much of him when he did play,” Sapp said. ”I mean that’s the whole point. He was a fumbler all the way through his life, and then all of a sudden, somebody taught him how to hold the ball up high and then he (left the Giants) and said, Eli (Manning) can’t lead them and they’ll never win a championship.

That kind of lends to who I’m talking about. This is the same guy. This is all encompassed into the same thing. There’s no way you turn your back on your teammates that block for you, that gave you the ball on short fields and did whatever they did. … There’s still no reason for you to attack your teammates.”

Strahan didn’t disagree with that assessment.

“Sapp is 100 percent right,” he said. “Only thing is, if it comes to playing football, he can play.”

To reiterate, Tiki Barber, 36, would like to resume his NFL career after five seasons away. He apparently has some interest from a couple NFL teams and should get down on his knees and pray to the NFL owners for opting out of their deal with the Players Association, inevitably delaying free agency and possibly training camp, and making his return much more likely.

Everybody hates Tiki Barber

When Tiki Barber walked away from the NFL in 2006 after leaking that he was retiring in the middle of the season he made sure to piss everybody off on the way out. He burned his former quarterback, and his head coach, he burned fantasy owners by always having his biggest games when it didn’t count, and finally he pissed off Oprah fans nationwide when he ditched his eight months pregnant wife for a 23-year-old intern (Editor’s note: Nobody likes fat chicks). Well, the Giants went on to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl History and Tiki’s wife is (probably) co-signed on a house payment, a car note, and a stroller that is worth then my entire Amazing Spiderman collection. At least the fans haven’t given up on Tiki, oh wait, nevermind.

Barber also seemed to exude the attitude that he was just too talented to be limited to the NFL. I guess yukking it up with Al Roker on NBC’s Today is tougher then it looks because Tiki’s broadcasting career is more dried up then Madonna’s you-know-what (family friendly website here!) and it’s time for this unloved, unmissed, and unwanted has-been to get back to his reliable gravy train.

That’s going on around the country, here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods, ESPN:

“After seeing my brother still have fun at our age, it reignited the fire,” Tiki Barber said, according to FoxSports.com. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was. I started working out again recently. It kind of shocked myself. I still had a lot of the strength I had before. I’m really looking forward to making a return.”

Translation: My wife and side piece are draining me like Bill on True Blood. Daddy needs ends or else snowflake moves back in with Jorge Posada and I start erupting into Kleenexes.

Barber is 35, and has been gone for four years. Returns to professional football generally tend to go great, particularly for running backs so whoever signs Barber should start stocking their locker room with champagne for when the Super Bowl resumes in 2099.

Belgian Soccer Fans Get In The Christmas Spirit By Acting Like Eagles Fans

Some say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. There’s no better way to show respect for Philadelphia Eagles fans than booing Santa, pelting opposing players and fans with snowballs and cheering career/life-threatening injuries.

A Jupiler League game in Belgium turned into a tribute to Eagles fans when the teams were forced to retreat to their locker rooms after the visiting side was pelted with snowballs. Anderlecht was playing away at Club Brugge when two players were bombarded by snowballs every time they tried to take a corner.

The game resumed and ended with Anderlecht winning 2-0. However the fun didn’t stop there. Jonathan Legear, one of the players pelted earlier, celebrated by throwing snowballs at the away section. Here’s what happened next.

Apparently the steward is a Club Brugge fan.

If the Belgians want to see how it’s done, they should take a trip to 2009 on YouTube and learn from the masters.

Stay classy, Philly.

Note: Speaking of the Eagles, let’s all laugh at the Giants again.

The Giants have been under pressure from their team president, CEO, and co-owner John Mara after the miserable end to a disappointing 2009 season.  Last year, Mara spent $86 million in salary and bonuses to attempt to fix their defense.  We all know how that turned out.  The defense gave up over 40 points a game in 3 out of their last 4 games.  So, at the end of last season, John Mara said he was “unhappy at everybody.” 

But the off-season seemed to be looking up.  Their new stadium was unveiled, they were awarded the 2014 superbowl, got a new defensive coordinator who the players haven’t been threatening to walk out on, and they signed pro bowl safety Antrel Rolle from Arizona. 

But, what goes up, must come, you guess it, down.  Training camp doesn’t open for 6 weeks but, at practice last week, the Giants decided to let their starters try out the new field and it’s new turf.  That’s the kind of move that will get one of your starting players injured during a punt return…oh right, that actually happened.  Dominik Hixon is now out for the entire 2010 season due to an ACL tear.  I know his injury is old news but, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to ask management the following question, isn’t this why teams have practice squads?  Hixon is a huge loss on special teams.  He set single season franchise records in 2009 returning 57 punts for 1,291.  That was 5th in the NFL.  So, yeah, no biggie. 

While Jerry Reese said the new turf had nothing to do with Hixon’s injury, after the injury he took another look.  

“Actually I just went over there and looked at the field again and we talked about some things that may need to be changed in respect to the field. We’re working on that, we hope to have all the kinks out before we get on it again.”

Antrel Rolle told ESPNNewYork.com,   

“I don’t know what it was,” Rolle said. “My feet were burning at the bottom on the turf. I was slipping on each and every play. It just didn’t feel good to me at all. I can’t lie to you about that. I am not one to really complain or make excuses or anything but they should definitely look into that as far as playing on that field in the future during the season.”

He wasn’t the only player to voice concern either.  “I thought it was real slippery,” wide receiver Steve Smith said. “We were all slipping and stuff. Hopefully it settles in when more people do stuff on it.”  Okay, fine.  But can the more people please be people like Sinorice Moss?  

Finding a Diamond in the Football Rough

After all of the 255 names were called at the NFL draft last week, there were many players who would have loved to be Mr. Irrelevant.   There are many players who would have appreciated sitting sitting in the green room looking awkward and embarrassed while waiting for their name to be called.  Because, better late than never, right?  Think about it.  They get together with their families, friends, or whoever.  They might even have a party.  Then, they slide further then where they thought they’d be.  So they wait.  And then the team they thought would take them passes to take a better player that was still on the board for the simple reason that some GM, or owner, was smoking some crack.   So they keep waiting.  And then they wait some more.  This year, the torture waiting stretched over three days. 

But, for many teams, and for many players, the draft is just the beginning of the search to figure out who will be a part of the following season’s roster.  Before the draft ends, before the ink is dry on the contracts, before a single bite of a porterhouse steak is eaten, every NFL team is looking on their draft board to see which players were still waiting to celebrate.  Then, the mad dash to sign the undrafted guys begins.  For some players, all they can hope for is a try-out.  For others, the draft may not even be over when they are celebrating the relief that came in the form of a phone call from a team wanting to sign them if they remain undrafted.  Some teams have even given try-outs to guys who never played football.  Antonio Gates played basketball for Kent State and Vince Papale was a 30 year old high school teacher and bartender before he was Invincible.  This year, the Patriots are giving a try-out to a wrestler, John Wise, since it worked out for Belichik with Stephen Neal. 

For some players, remaining undrafted is a blessing in disguise.  They often get the same $25,000 signing bonus as the players drafted at the end of the 7th round.  But, there is an added addition.  They may be able to choose where they land.  When there are multiple teams calling with offers, they get to choose where they end up.  So, if they are a safety and one of the two team’s are deep at the safety position they can choose to go to the other team.  I am sure last year Matt Stafford might have thought twice about heading to Detroit.  Remember that game where his dead was hanging at his side and they STILL left him in the game?  Yeah, I think he would have preferred a choice, don’t you?

Undrafted free agents are also the keys to success for many teams .  For one, they’re cheap.  Many teams sign contracts worth $30, $40, or even $50 million for their first round pick.  With all those eggs in that one basket, many teams want to try and get more bang for their buck.  Second, they have something to prove.  After the draft, these players dreams are riding on luck, heart, and hard work.  Third, behind every draft, is a list of players who never amount to much and another list of undrafted free agents who end up making the pro bowl, or many pro bowls, during their career.  Let’s be honest, even the teams who have successful drafts year after year miss every now and then.  Undrafted free agents have to compete for a starting spot just like everyone else.  So, there are many who become success stories.  Just imagine a coach’s satisfaction after his dollar bin find turns into a game day contributor, nevermind a pro bowler.  

The list of undrafted free agents who have had successful careers is a long one.  But here’s a list of a few who made the pro bowl in the past few seasons. 

  • Tony Romo (Please note, this is the only time, I repeat, ONLY TIME, I will say anything remotely positive about Romo.)
  • Wes Welker
  • Kurt Warner
  • Miles Austin
  • Antonio Gates
  • Willie Parker
  • Antonio Pierce
  • Adam Vinatieri
  • Shaun O’hara

Isn't the resemblance uncanny?

That being said, there are some teams who are more successful at picking up undrafted free agents than others. As much as I dislike Mr. Burns, I mean Bill Belichik, he has a proven record of success, shocker, when it comes to signing undrafted free agents.  The league average is 13 per team.  The patriots had 18 on their roster last year.  And, so far, they signed another six this year.   But this year’s leader going into rookie minicamp are the New York Giants.   The Giants have signed 12 undrafted free agents and have another 25 undrafted players stopping by the stadium for a try-out. 

So, the draft is over but the work has just begun.  And the next time you are talking with your friends about how much money some team wasted in the 2010 NFL draft on some garbage first round pick, be the person who mentions the steal from the bottom of the abyss only to be rescued by some team who took a chance.