Blast From The Past: Mr. Ronde Barber aka Mr. 40-20
Taking another trip in the Buccaneers’ time machine I drop in on a future Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Buccaneers Ring of Honor member, Mr. 40-20, Ronde Barber.
Jamael Orondé “Rondé” Barber was born April 7, 1975, along with his identical twin brother, former New York Giants’ running back, Tiki. They both grew up in Roanoke, Virginia and played college football for the University of Virginia. Ronde Barber spent his entire 16-year professional career playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Barber twins had some ups and downs in early life, with their parents divorcing early on. Their father wasn’t around much during their young lives and their mother, Geraldine, worked two to three jobs to support them. Those struggles paid off when Ronde received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, where he played football for the Cavaliers. Ronde Barber earned first-team All-ACC honors in all three of his seasons with the Cavaliers. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in commerce with an emphasis in marketing. He forgoes his final season of eligibility and entered the 1997 NFL Draft.
Ronde Barber was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He was the third underclassmen in 1997. During the 1997 season, he only played in one game which was in week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. He recorded three tackles in that game. His role increased over the next two seasons, and he ultimately earned a starting role. He started in all 16 games during the 1999 season. The rest is history.
He became one of the key cogs in the Buccaneers legendary defense. His 92-yard touchdown interception during the 2002 NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, silenced the famous Veterans Stadium on Tampa’s way to the Super Bowl. Ronde Barber’s interception in the NFC Championship game is ranked as one of the greatest scoring plays in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization.
On November 21, 2010, during the shutout of the San Francisco 49ers, Barber earned the nickname “Mr. 40-20” as he became the only player in NFL history to record at least 25 sacks and 40 interceptions. He continued playing for the next two seasons, finishing his 16th season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He announced his retirement from pro football on May 8th, 2013. Later on, he joined Fox Sports as a color analyst and continues that role to this day.
Ronde Barber was in the running for the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with John Lynch, but did not join his fellow teammate as a finalist. Barber, as well as Lynch, will likely both be in the running for Canton again next year and will one day join fellow teammates Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp enshrined in the great hall forever.
Godspeed and Thank you “Mr. 40-20!”