WILKES-BARRE — As the crowd filled into the Mohegan Sun Casino on Super Bowl Sunday, the predictable flood of football jerseys was visible at the slots and roulette tables. But the number of 49ers and Ravens jerseys unquestionably fell short in comparison to the number of New York Giants jerseys.
Despite their team missing the playoffs and a chance to defend the championship, local Giants fans turned out in heavy numbers for a chance to meet with former Giants All-Pro running back Tiki Barber at an autograph signing followed by a meet-and-greet.
It's been fantastic tonight, Barber said during a break. I've had a chance to meet a lot of fans tonight which I'm very appreciative of and always enjoy doing.
Despite his retirement in 2006, Barber has kept himself involved in the world of sports.
Barber is now hosting a morning talk show for CBS Sports Radio and is also the co-founder and a representative of Thuzio, a company that connects fans with former professional athletes for a wide array of events.
It's a way for me to get involved in some smaller-scale events, but, to still stay involved. We do some things like birthdays to corporate lunches or outings to even flag football, said Barber while watching the opening plays between the 49ers and Ravens.
Barber is still certainly a fan, and an informative one at that, taking time to touch on some of the player safety issues that have been so prevalent lately.
I think Commissioner Goodell has tried his best, Barber said. I just think it's a generation thing, going about the mechanics of how guys play, how they try to tackle and I think it's still going to be a few years before we see some real change, which is only going to be beneficial for the fans.
His understanding of the nature of the game made obvious as he watched some of the opening quarter, it was his reaction – a sharp smile, a quick turn to the television to watch the replay – after Baltimore's Joe Flacco completed a long pass down the sideline to Anquan Boldin, that left the question begging to be asked.
Was Barber, a former three-time Pro Bowl selection that once rushed for over 1,800 yards in a season, really considering a comeback not too long ago?
Oh, man, that idea was from a while ago, said Barber with a chuckle. I started getting back into working out and seeing what I had left and I'm old now, too old for today's game. I'm much happier doing this.