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Article:Thank you, Tiki

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With potentially the biggest game in the history of this franchise on the horizon, it is highly unlikely that Giants fans such as myself even want to see, hear or even want to utter the infamous name of Tiki Barber. Tiki himself has done his best to stay clear of the spotlight as he has refused to do any interviews during Super Bowl week. Despite all Giants fans {yours truly included} feelings about Tiki Barber, there are numerous reasons that we should give a great deal of thanks {sarcastic and real} to Tiki.

1. If Tiki Barber hadn't ran his hindquarters off in his final regular season game against Washington, The Giants would have finished 7-9 and Coughlin would have been hung out to dry and left to stand on the unemployment line. Instead he was given another chance and with that chance he chose to remain more flexible as a head coach while maintaining his no-nonsense style. Not to mention that it gave him the chance to rid himself of Tim Lewis as the D-Coordinator and make the best acquisition that the Giants have made in years, Steve Spagnuolo. As a result, Coughlin now has a chance to raise to achieve iconic status as a head coach Sunday Night.

2. Tiki Barber's unpopular, questionable and quizzical choice of hanging up his jersey to pursue broadcasting allowed and practically forced the opportunity for Eli Manning no matter whether he was ready or not, to become the leader of this offense. When Tiki was here, at least 60% of the Giants offense revolved around Tiki Barber. This made for a then very unhappy and a then very winey Plaxico Burress on the sidelines. Look at the difference now. Plaxico has been so focused and displayed unparalleled toughness througout this entire season despite his injuries. And after inconsistent play throughout the season, Eli Manning has finally stepped and embraced his role as the franchise quarterback and has pushed the tentativeness aside. With no Tiki Barber, the onus is on Eli to deliver on crucial third downs and he has delivered.

3. Certainly the disarray of the Giants locker room last year went a lot further than Tiki, but his departure has paved the way for a united and harmonious locker room. Even when they were 0-2, there was no sense of panic or dissent. Strahan and Pierce became the standard-bearers and Eli is fast on the road to becoming one himself.

4. Tiki Barber's departure paved the way for the new version of Thunder and Lightning to exist. The Thunder is bruising running back Brandon Jacobs. For a good part of the year, Derrick Ward was on his way to a stellar season in his own right until his season-ending injury. But is was all a matter of fate, as that injury paved the way for a gamebreaker and change-of pace back Ahmad Bradshaw. If Tiki was still there, the running game would be unilateral and Jacobs would have been wasted, while Ahmad Bradshaw might have fallen into another contending team's lap.

With all of this in mind, I cannot express how deeply grateful I am towards Tiki for directly and indirectly shaping the New York Giants to the team they are now. From the bottom of my Big Blue Heart:

Thank you.

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