On Sunday, former Giants running back Tiki Barber will call his first NFL game, appearing in the Fox broadcast booth alongside Kenny Albert and his identical twin brother Ronde to work the Giants’ game against Ronde’s former team, the Buccaneers.
The Ronde-Tiki broadcast booth is a cool idea, made even cooler by the idea of Tiki commenting on Eli Manning live on television. But according to Newsday, the Barbers have a slight problem: Viewers won’t be able to tell which brother is speaking. As identical twins, Ronde and Tiki sound very similar, meaning they’ll have to rely on some tricks to indicate who’s who.
“I said the same thing to Ronde: How are people going to know?” Tiki said. “He said it’s little things, like saying, ‘When I played for the Giants,’ or, ‘Ronde, tell me about this.’ It’s just using some identifiers.
“Our voices are a little bit different, but not discernible. So it’s going to be all about those cues, mostly on Kenny to set us up . . . I think as the game goes on it will become easier to tell.”
Luckily for the Barbers, most viewers probably don’t particularly care which color commentator is speaking at a given time, unless he is saying something particularly incisive or controversial. But still, it’s probably good they have some plans to differentiate themselves.
In the Newsday piece, Tiki said he was excited to work with his brother and said he’s glad he’ll have Rondo to rely on when in doubt. He also addressed his alleged feud with Manning, his former teammate.
“It’s a narrative that sells newspapers, I think,” he said. “It’s like I haven’t seen him on multiple occasions and been to charity events together and everything else. It will be absolutely fine. There will be no issue at all with Eli.”
Eli also chimed in.
Manning confirmed he has no lingering problems with Barber. “No, I’ve seen Tiki over the years; our relationship is fine,” he said on Friday. “Tremendous player and great teammate. So I have no issues with Tiki.”
Added Barber: “Eli and I and his wife and my wife had a nice little conversation at the Robin Hood Foundation dinner a couple of months ago. We’ve never been adversarial. I read a headline: ‘Eli’s harshest critic.’ I’m like, c’mon, really?”
So it sounds like if you tune into Sunday’s Giants-Bucs game you will get the curiosity of two identical twins calling the same game, but you will not get any juicy criticism of Eli Manning.