Michael Strahan vs. Peter King: The Tiki Barber Twitter War has begun

Ever since the news broke that Tiki Barber was coming out of retirement to play football again, most fans and media members have taken it upon themselves to ridicule him via blogs, Twitter and carrier pigeons. (One writer even compiled a list of 10 reasons why Barber’s un-retirement is a great thing, although the 10 reasons were all cheap shots.)

But at least one prominent media member is in Barber’s corner and that’s SI.com’s Peter King. His Twitter page reads more like a Tiki Barber fan page than a NFL reporter.

New York Giants running back Tiki Barber carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Dallas, Texas in this October 23, 2006 file photo. The all-time leading rusher, took the first step towards returning to the NFL on Tuesday and ending a four-year retirement. Barber filed paperwork with the league to remove him from the reserve-retirement list, according to a report on Sports Illustrated magazine’s website, clearing the way for a return. REUTERS/Mike Stone/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

At start of 2011 season, Burress will be 34, Tiki 36. It’d be pretty interesting if the Giants bring Burress back but not Tiki.

One last thing on Tiki: If he wants to play, I think he still can. Retired healthy. No reason why he shouldn’t try. TB makes most sense.

RT @B_Frigo: Tiki did dirt when he retired, should have kept lips sealed … You’re wrong. At NBC, he was paid to call ’em as he sees ’em.

But it was this tweet that has drawn the most attention:

Strahan’s been critical of Giants on FOX. It’s like nobody hears that. Tiki criticized Eli’s leadership and Coughlin’s way. So what?

The Strahan that King is referring to is none other than Michael Strahan, a former teammate of Barber’s and someone who didn’t take kindly for King’s statements.

Strahan fired back via his own Twitter page:

@SI_PeterKing Why am I even in your conversation?? This isn’t about me so don’t make it so!!!

Regular readers know that I’m a big King fan, but I’ve got to side with Strahan on this one. When Barber criticized Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, he was doing so because he wanted to make a name for himself in television. Barber wanted to be a TV star, which is one of the reasons he retired from football in 2007. He probably figured that he could cause a stir with his comments and thus, wasn’t shy about ripping his former quarterback and coach.

When Strahan has been critical of the Giants on FOX, it’s in a constructive manner. It’s not like he criticized Manning by saying his motivational pre-game speeches sounded “almost comical” like Barber did in an interview before the start of the ’07 season. Granted, I haven’t heard every single word that has ever come out of Strahan’s mouth about the Giants, but I’m under the impression that he keeps his comments related to the team as a whole and not about individual players.

In other words, I think King is reaching with his comparison between Barber and Strahan. One has fans’ respect, while the other has turned into the butt of jokes.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

NFL Week 4 MVP, COY and ROY power rankings

We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and there are lots of wacky things happening. The Chiefs are 3-0 and the only undefeated team. That’s a far cry from last year, when the Colts and Saints were unbeaten almost all the way to the end of the 2009 campaign. There are also some interesting candidates emerging for MVP consideration, as well as for Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year. And like last year, we’ll start to analyze them in power rankings fashion. For this week and maybe the next few, we’ll put this in one post and give three names for each category. Around the halfway point of the season, more candidates will emerge so we will separate things out. Sound good? Right. Let’s go……..

MVP Power Rankings

1. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles—Do we even have to spell this out? He steps in for Kevin Kolb in Week 1 and almost leads the Eagles to victory against the Packers. Then he wins against Detroit and Jacksonville before having his ribs crushed on a meaningless play vs. Washington last Sunday, knocking him out of the game early. Kolb comes back in, and the Eagles lose. Vick is averaging 200 yards passing per game, has 6 TDs and no interceptions, and is also averaging 7.2 yards per rush on 26 carries and one TD on the ground. He has a QB rating of 108.8 while Kolb’s is 71.1. Simply put, this team is dangerous with Vick, and not scaring anyone without him. That’s the very definition of MVP.

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Strahan wanted to return to Giants

Michael Strahan told Newsday.com’s Bob Glauber that if the Giants had called three weeks ago requesting for his services, he would have gladly returned to his former team for the playoffs.

Michael Strahan“I was like, ‘Man, if they called me, I’d go back there now,’ ” Strahan told me yesterday at Giants Stadium, where he recorded an interview with Giants running backs Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw for Sunday’s Fox pregame show. “When they played Carolina? Definitely. You ‘jones’ for this thing, especially in the playoffs.”

The Giants never did call Strahan, nor will they; the last time they reached out to him was during the summer, when Osi Umenyiora suffered a season-ending knee injury. But after a 15-year career that someday will put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Strahan told them he wanted to remain retired.

So Strahan wasn’t ready to help the Giants in preseason when Umenyiora went down, but now that all of the training camp practices and grueling regular season are behind him, he was ready to jump at the chance to join them for the playoffs? Does that rub anyone else the wrong way or is it just me?

I know Strahan means a lot to the Giants organization and was with the franchise through thick and thin, but I don’t blame the team for not picking up the phone and reaching out to him so he could have another shot at a ring without having to play an entire season.

No Strahan or Umenyiora – how will Giants’ defensive line cope?

In the weeks leading up to the kickoff the 2008 NFL Season, I’ll take a look at position groups that could potentially lift teams to new heights, or bury them and their postseason hopes. Today I take a look at how the New York Giants expect to cope without having Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan on their defensive line.

Michael StrahanWhen the New York Giants selected defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, many eyebrows were raised at the pick. Why would the Giants take another defensive end when they already had Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck on the roster?

After Strahan retired following the Giants’ Super Bowl victory in January and Umenyiora was lost for the 2008 season because of a knee injury, nobody is questioning New York’s decision to draft Kiwanuka now.

Kiwanuka not only has the daunting task of having to transition from outside linebacker back to defensive end, but he also will attempt to fill the shoes of Umenyiora, a highly productive player who registered 52 tackles and five sacks last season.

Playing opposite of Kiwanuka on the line will be Tuck, a promising fourth-year player who compiled 10 sacks last year as part of a rotation. While he’s shown plenty of upside, this will be the first time in Tuck’s career that he’ll be counted on as a full-time starter.

Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins will man the interior of New York’s defensive line. Neither stands out as impact players, although Cofield did show promise in his rookie season when he compiled 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

There’s no denying that losing both Strahan and Umenyiora was devastating. The Giants demonstrated what a heavy pass-rush could do for an entire defense in the Super Bowl when they completely flustered Tom Brady and his offensive line. While young corner Aaron Ross is developing into a nice player, the rest of the secondary is average at best – especially after safety Gibril Wilson signed with Oakland this offseason – and will need the front seven to put pressure on opposing teams’ quarterbacks so they’re not vulnerable in coverage.

New York GiantsNew York is going to need Kiwanuka and Tuck to provide the type of rush that Strahan and Umenyiora got last year in order for the defense to not be exposed in certain areas. Both ends have a ton of talent, but how will they do as full-time starters? Can they be as effective as every-down players as they were in a rotation last year? Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was outstanding in devising game plans last year to frustrate opposing teams, but a lot of what he does depends on his ends getting pressure.

Time will tell if the Giants will sink or swim without the two ends that helped them when a Super Bowl last season.

Michael Strahan turns Giants down

Michael Strahan has officially turned down an offer to rejoin the Giants, deciding instead to stay retired.

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