There will be not one but two Barbers in the broadcast booth Sunday.
Former Cave Spring High School, University of Virginia and NFL standouts Tiki and Ronde Barber will be the co-analysts for Fox’s telecast of the New York Giants’ game at Tampa Bay.
“We work really well together because we kind of still complete each other’s sentences and think [on] the same wavelength,” Tiki Barber said Thursday in a phone interview.
“To both be in the booth together and be a partner again with my brother is something that I relish and I cherish every time I get the chance to do it.
“We’re still as tight as we ever were. So imagine getting to go to work with your best friend and talk sports.”
Ronde, a former Tampa Bay defensive back, is in his seventh season as a game analyst for Fox. He is again teaming with play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert this year.
Tiki, a former New York Giants running back, cohosts “Tiki and Tierney,” a sports talk show which airs weekday afternoons on CBS Sports Radio and SiriusXM Radio and is simulcast on television on CBS Sports Network.
This will be the fourth time Fox has brought Tiki aboard to team up with his twin. Tiki and Ronde were co-analysts for the Giants’ game at Tampa Bay two years ago. Tiki was the sideline reporter for two games last year when Ronde was up in the booth.
“The cool thing in this particular game is that I am intimately aware [of] the New York Giants and Ronde is intimately aware of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so there’s insight that’s going to be provided by both of us,” Tiki said.
They will certainly have plenty to talk about on Sunday.
The 0-2 Giants announced Tuesday that rookie Daniel Jones will replace long-time starting quarterback Eli Manning, beginning with Sunday’s game.
Tiki, who was a Manning teammate for three years, said he was only slightly surprised by the decision.
“I knew it would happen at some point,” said Tiki, whose weekday show originates out of New York. “After you saw the Giants struggle in Week 1 and 2 defensively, the season seems to be headed toward sub-.500.
“I think this is less about Eli. I think it’s more about the direction of this team and the fact that when you draft a quarterback in 2019 with the sixth overall pick, you have to see what you have and you have to make decisions, especially in the context of where Eli is in his career.
“He’s 38 years old. It’s not like you can stay young forever. … At some point you start to deteriorate a little bit as a player and someone ultimately replaces you.”
Tiki said the Giants, who won only five games last year, were correct in not making the switch before the season.
“Eli is an icon in New York’s football history,” Tiki said. “They wanted to give it a shot and see where he was and what this team had. It was clear after Weeks 1 and 2 that a rebuild is necessary, or at least a reset. … Giving Daniel Jones the reins is only going to accelerate where they want to get to.”
Were the Giants correct in making the switch at this point?
“We’ll find out,” Tiki said. “It’s dangerous sometimes to play young players. If they get beat around and lose their confidence, it can be lasting. But it’s also a great opportunity to get the reps.”
Another twist to Sunday’s telecast is the twins’ history with Tampa Bay first-year coach Bruce Arians.
Arians and his wife often served as babysitters for Tiki and Ronde in 1975, when Arians and the Barbers’ father, James, were Virginia Tech graduate assistants.
“Bruce is a great friend,” Tiki said.
Sunday will be a special day for Ronde. At halftime, he will become the 13th player in Buccaneers history to be inducted into the franchise’s ring of honor.
Ronde recorded 47 interceptions and 28 sacks for Tampa Bay from 1999-2012. He helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl in January 2003.
“He’s one of the iconic players in the history of their franchise,” said Tiki, who was inducted into the Giants’ ring of honor in 2010.
The 4 p.m. Giants-Bucs game will not air on WFXR.
Sunday won’t be Tiki’s only stint as an analyst this fall. He will also be a color commentator for two of CBS’ NFL telecasts.
On the radio, Tiki is again serving as a college football analyst for the Compass Media syndicated network (which includes WFJX-AM 910 and 104.3 FM in Roanoke). He will be doing six games this year, including Virginia Tech’s game at Miami.