Today’s Hall Of Fame Pitch For Rondé Barber

January 18th, 2022


Ira Kaufman’s work is presented by Bill Currie Ford, home of the nationwide lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles. Bill Currie Ford is a family-owned Tampa tradition for 61-plus years. Ira drives a 2020 cherry red Ford Escape.

It’s judgment day for Rondé Barber.

As a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for the second consecutive year, Barber will have his case heard during a Zoom call today as 49 selectors vote for the Class of 2022. A maximum of five modern-era nominees can be chosen from a group of 15 candidates that includes first-time eligibles DeMarcus Ware, Andre Johnson and Devin Hester.

As Tampa Bay’s Hall of Fame representative, I am tasked with making the pitch for Barber, who played his entire 16-year career with the Bucs.

“Rondé happens to be one of the players I had the ultimate respect for,” says Andy Reid. “He combined several characteristics that made him great. He was an extremely smart player through instincts and study habits. Rondé was also strong physically. He could tackle, he could blitz and he could cover any sized wide receiver or tight end. No doubt in my mind he deserves to be in Canton.”

Reid should know because Barber broke his heart with the 92-yard interception return that shut down the Vet and sealed Tampa Bay’s invitation to the 2003 Super Bowl.

Cris Collinsworth, working the Bucs-Eagles matchup that day as a TV analyst, said Barber’s overall performance was among the best he’d ever seen in a big game.

Barber checks off so many Hall of Fame boxes that your pen would run out of ink. He’s an All-Decade player, a 5-time All-Pro who defined the position of slot corner for the premier defense of its era.

“Rondé Barber is one of the most instinctual players I’ve ever seen,” says Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. “He was one of those rare cornerbacks who did it all, a complete football player very worthy of a gold jacket.”

Still, there are skeptics to overcome.

Barber retired after the 2012 season, so he was eligible for the Hall’s Class of 2018. But for three years, he didn’t garner enough support to move from the semi-finalist stage to the final group of 15.

What were these people thinking?

Barber’s numbers are historic across the board. He’s the only player with at least 25 sacks and 45 interceptions. Barber ranks third all-time with 197 passes defended and his 1,044 tackles are No. 10 all-time, first among defensive backs and two less than Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher.

His 88 tackles for loss are first among defensive backs, three less than Richard Seymour and 14 more than Zach Thomas, both fellow Hall of Fame finalists. Think about it — 88 tackles for loss from a cornerback.

Hall of Famer Ty Law had 19.

Selectors like to talk about impact and Barber has a lot to say in that regard. His 14 non-offensive touchdowns rank fourth all-time, trailing only Hester and Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson. Those three combined for 32 touchdowns as kickoff and punt returners … Barber didn’t have those additional opportunities to pad his total.

Finally, we come to durability and yes, Barber is historic there, too. In his final 15 seasons, he never missed a game. Not one.

His streak of 215 consecutive starts is topped only by Jim Marshall among defensive players. The next defensive back on the list is Willie Wood, who played in Super Bowl I.

Barber was a key component on a great defense, an outside corner who moved into the slot on third down because nobody else could do all the things required at the position.

They still can’t.

Rondé Barber didn’t shadow receivers all over the field because that’s not the way Cover 2 worked. What he did was wreck the best-laid plans of offensive coordinators with his football intelligence and knack for the big play.

“I’d say 99 percent of the guys walking around with gold jackets needed a system,” says Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter. “Otherwise, the only busts in Canton would be Lawrence Taylor and Barry Sanders. Now we’re going to penalize Rondé Barber for being in a system that he mastered? That’s crazy and it’s wrong.”

The more you look at Barber’s remarkable career, the more you appreciate the man’s versatility and toughness.

Historic production, check. Historic durability, check. Jon Gruden, who coached Charles Woodson. Derrick Brooks and Jerry Rice, calls Barber the most complete football player he’s come across.

What say you, football jury?

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24 Responses to “Today’s Hall Of Fame Pitch For Rondé Barber”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Nobody puts Barber’s accomplishments in context. It’s astounding what he did.
    YET, the constant ‘ding’ is he was a “system corner”. Bullspit!!! It’s the dumbest, laziest argument of all time.
    Despite my inherent bias, the numbers don’t lie. Barber deserves to be in the HOF. It’s that simple.

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    Barber had a HOF career built on a stats, legendary defense and SB. He wasn’t the Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith of his position, but more like the Thurman Thomas except with a ring. I still rank him over Lynch who IMO….was an excellent Buc but not a HOF.

  3. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    Joe, off topic seems BA was on film striking Andrew Adams. League might come down on Arians not sure what will happen, any word?

  4. westernbuc Says:

    Richard Sherman is also a system corner and I’m sure they’ll put him in right away.

    You’ve got this Ira. LFG

  5. NeverGIVEup Says:

    The argument for Barber is simple.

    Check your sheet

  6. Colonel_mp Says:

    It is time for #20! Great pitch with many words to follow from others in the zoom room.

    Lifetime BUC!

  7. Leighroy Says:

    Those numbers for Ronde are compelling. Most of us probably knew the sacks vs INTs numbers, but the passes defended and TDs are crazy too! Hope this is his year.

  8. STL-BucsFan Says:

    And Before Brady got to Tampa the knock on him was that he was a “system” QB well hows that working out? Barber is a no brainer for HoF. look at it like this, how good was the DEF and the stats that Sapp, Rice, Brooks< Quarrels, Kelly Jackson and Lynch piled up because Barber was a swiss army knife of a CB? he allowed players to move around because they knew he could be left with the best WR 1 on 1 if needed. i'm gonna wear my cream cycle Barber Jersey this sunday! love Ronde and he deserves to be in!

  9. JA Says:


    Here’s some advice from someone who is in no place to give it:

    Read the above pitch verbatim with a closing argument stating Ronde’ Barber made the greatest single play in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history and one of the best in playoff history. He broke many hearts in Philly that day. Perhaps some HOF voting hearts as well?
    I’ve heard you speak with humor and persuasion on Russo’s radio show. Your vernacular comes off as the guy in the OTB building who is chomping on a cigar and giving advice to neophytes and those who claim to be in the know, but are willing to listen.
    Use it and let the voters decide if they’re willing to commit football heresy by passing Barber by, yet again.
    All I know is, even with my prejudicial leanings, you sold me!

  10. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Good god Ira, when you laid this out and numbers, damn well should be a slam dunk!!!

  11. BA4President Says:

    @Evolvingbucsfan read yesterday’s article. It was a non-issue and striking is a very harsh adjective for what actually happened.

  12. PanhandleBuc Says:

    As much as I loved Lynch, Barber was more dynamic and important to our defense then him! He should and WILL get in this time around!

  13. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    ok Thanks BA4 just saw the news this morning in a clip so wasn’t sure.

  14. Stone crab sam Says:

    Ronde barber was clutch. That’s why he had so many turnovers and sacks. He could be counted on to make a play! Just ask those eagles😎

  15. LostDecadeSurvivor Says:

    10th all time in tackles as a DB is bonkers.

  16. Red Skeleton Says:

    ” He is a SYSTEM cornerback”
    Actually he MADE the system!!!!

  17. KingLDavid54 Says:

    Damn near don’t need my morning cup of Joe now. Go get em’ Ira!

  18. Bruce Blahak Says:

    the touchdowns!!!!

  19. ClodHopper Says:

    That’s a heck of argument you got there. Ronde deserves it more than Hester and Hester deserves it!

  20. Lesko_Brandon Says:


  21. David Says:

    There’s no way he should not get in. People want a cover corner one on one. It’s more than that, it’s about winning football games and doing what’s necessary. Tackles for loss, Sacks, interceptions, touchdowns scored, playing different positions, playing zone or playing man… He should easily get in. His stats speak for themselves.

    I absolutely hate the argument of playing in a system. Every single offensive or defensive scheme is a system. Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver to ever play the game… He played in the West Coast offense. I don’t think any votes were deducted because he played in a system

  22. Swampbuc Says:

    Ira — STANDING O FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Simply irrefutable. How could anyone not vote for Ronde after that pitch?

    Thank you.

  23. Buczilla Says:

    Well said Ira!

    “Still, there are skeptics to overcome.”

    Skeptics is a nice way of saying good ole boy hacks who don’t deserve to vote for their favorite color, much less who goes into the hall of fame. Take an axe to the whole gosh damn process and put more people with integrity like Ira on the panel.

  24. FrankPillow Says:

    Pound for pound the greatest Buc of all time. What a special player.