Ronde Barber

July 10, 2011 · 1 comment

in NFL

Ronde BarberSuper Bowl champion. 2000′s all decade team. All around good dude. That’s Ronde Barber. He’s a premier corner back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who has played more than effectively into years most would consider to be past his prime. His name isn’t on the shortlist of future hall of famers, but he has name recognition, although some of it has to do with his slightly more controversial twin brother, Tiki. But how does he compare to other top notch corners such as Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders? When he finally decides to retire, where will he stand amongst the all-time greats?

Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Total Sck PDef Int TDs FF Rec TDs
704 26 117 40 7 11 11 4
Awards
  • 5× Pro Bowl selection (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008)
  • 3× First-Team All-Pro selection (2001, 2004, 2005)
  • 2× Second-Team All-Pro selection (2002, 2006)
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXVII)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Hall

by Isaac Rickert

Ronde Barber's name has come up in the news a little bit lately. Unfortunately, it's due to his “evil” twin, Tiki, and not because he was 35 last year and played like a true lock down corner. However, let’s not let the fact that Tiki isn’t lovable cloud the fact that Ronde Barber will be retiring soon and his name will become a fixture of “should he or shouldn’t he” have a bust in Canton.

Let’s go over a few of the details first:

  • 704 total tackles (keeping in mind tackles weren’t tracked until the early 2000’s)
  • 26 total sacks (including 5.5 in ‘99)
  • 40 total interceptions
  • 1 ring
  • 5 Pro-Bowls
  • Named to the 2000’s all decade team
  • Most consecutive starts by a corner all time

Call him Brett Favre of the corners, this former 3rd rounder has been a constant in Tampa. And, here is probably my favorite part, he’s only played for one team.

First and foremost, just looking at paper, those stats look impressive. He hits a few of my marks right away: Ring(s); named to some form of awesome team (2000’s all decade team); large number in the key stat area (40 INTs).

We’ll look at how he does against other Hallers and Probable Hallers, but the next part of the analysis is whether or not he meets the “Does this guy stand out on his own?” test.

Ronde does lose some in the name recognition battle because corners play an ever so important job, but unless they’re outlandish like Deion or Darelle Revis or they’re just freaks of nature like Deion or Champ Bailey, you get a bit lost. However, Ronde does pass the name barrier just because he’s been dominating for going on 14 seasons and (unfortunately) he is Tiki’s twin.

Also, having appeared in a commercial with his brother in 2002 after he got his ring helps out too. (Extra bonus points for the commercial pointing out that Tiki didn’t win a Super Bowl).

Now it’s comparison time. Here’s who he’s going against: Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey, Dick LeBeau, and Emmit Thomas (NOTE: tackles will only be looked at for Champ because Deion, LeBeau and Thomas played before it became an official stat. Also, when Emmit Thomas and LeBeau were playing, sacks weren’t included as an official stat.).

Player INTs TDs Sacks Tackles
Deion Sanders 53 9 1
Champ Bailey 48 4 3 591
Emmitt Thomas 58 5
Dick LeBeau 62 3

As you can see, Ronde stacks up well against those who are already in, or in Champ’s case, likely to get in. He doesn’t have as many INTs, but he beats both Champ and Deion handily in the sack category. And then when it comes to INT returns, he dwarfs them all, minus Deion.

And here’s my last stat that I have withheld for now. He is one of 9 players to have 20 sacks and 20 INTs. What makes him different than the rest is that he’s the ONLY corner in the list. It’s 5 linebackers and three safeties. But Ronde as a corner has made it.

The only thing that might hurt him is the fact that he isn’t as flashy as Champ or Deion and the fact that the Bucs since 2002 to the present have been mediocre and are in a smaller market. That penetration might limit those who know him. Also, what will be brought up is the fact that Ronde has been with some pretty amazing defenders (Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Dexter Jackson) during his early years.

However, I think he breaks down that barrier. He has the stats. He has the ring. He’s been a monster on a bad team for most of the decade. He’s a yes. Get that bust ready.

Hall

by Brad Rizza

Since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Ronde Barber has been the perfect foil to his twin brother Tiki, drafted a round earlier in the same draft. While Tiki’s career was characterized by a five to six year stretch of elite play only punctuated by a reoccurring fumbling problem, Ronde has become the poster child for consistency and longevity. However, the same virtues that separate Ronde from Tiki are precisely the arguments used to disqualify Ronde as a potential candidate for the NFl Hall of Fame. “Ronde was never a dominant player, he did not get national acclaim for his talents, he never received a major award, Ronde was a system corner who benefited from stellar defensive teammates.”

In Tampa Bay in the early 2000s, Ronde did not possess the experience of Derek Brooks, the flashiness of Warren Sapp, or the bone crushing hitting ability of John Lynch but Barber was the backbone of that defense, ranked first in the NFL in 2002. That same year, Barber was named Defensive MVP in the NFC Championship Game, prior to Super Bowl XXXVII. Is Barber merely a product of a great system? Well, Barber has been with the team for thirteen years and he has experienced three different head coaches, three defensive coordinators, and various generations of players. In those thirteen years, Barber has led Tampa Bay to a top ten defense eleven times and a top five defense eight times.

Barber will occasionally catch criticism for his lack of interceptions yet he has had multiple interceptions in 12 of his 11 years in the league (highlighted by 10 in 2001) and the relatively low career numbers can be partially explained by the implementation of the Tampa 2 during most of his tenure with the Bucs. Monte Kiffin and his scheme placed major emphasis pressuring the quarterback, smart play and flawless tackling. Barber was not encouraged to take risks and he didn’t.

Do I believe Ronde Barber will get into the Hall in his first three years of eligibility? No. But he should be elected to the hall eventually. Barber was elected to the Pro Bowl five times in an eight year span and is the all-time leader in sacks by a cornerback with 26 (for comparison, Charles Woodson, seen as a potential Hall of Famer, has 11.5). Barber holds the all-time record for most consecutive starts for a cornerback, he is third all-time in defensive touchdowns, and is the only player in NFL history with at least 25 sacks and 40 interceptions.

In Pro Football Reference’s list if the ten players whose careers were most similar to Barbers, nine are hall of famers: Herb Adderley, Night Train Lane, Mel Renfro, Mike Haynes*, Willie Wood, Champ Bailey, Mel Blount, Ronnie Lott, Jimmy Johnson and Deion Sanders. The lone non-hall of famer? The not yet eligible, Champ Bailey. It will be interesting to see how many more years Ronde can continue to play at a high level as he continues to climb his upper 30’s.

Barber has remained with one organization his entire career, an organization that was clearly among the dominant franchises in the league in the early 2000’s, has maintained a reputation as an invaluable locker room presence and is seen as one of the most charitable ambassadors of the league. Barber has been elected to the NFL’s All Decade team (2000’s) and has a Super Bowl ring. If Barber had the outspoken personality and off the field fireworks of his twin brother, Ronde may have garnered more national interest.

Barber won’t be a first or second ballot hall of famer, but after a number of years pass, after his vote tallies continue to slowly rise each year, Barber will get in. While all-time leaders in the NFL are not revered as they are in Major League Baseball, voters will recognize that one of the most successful cornerbacks in the leagues history deserves enshrinement.

Is Ronde Barber a Hall of Famer?

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