Influencer Insight: Canton Bound!

February 10, 2023

SuperBook Sports’ Rondé Barber is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the NFL season, “Betting with the Barbers” has become the signature show within the SuperBook Sports content lineup. Hosted by twins Tiki and Rondé Barber, the former New York Giant and Tampa Bay Buc dish on all things football, sports wagering and more.

This morning, the SuperBook Sports family is thrilled to announce a slight addition to the show credits. While the hosts of “Betting with the Barbers” will remain the same, “Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023” must now be added to Rondé Barber’s business card.

“Emotionally, it was more relief. It’s a believable feeling that’s unbelievable,” said Barber, “because I expected it at some point, and the relief was that my expectation was finally realized.” 

And it’s a fitting honor. Barber, one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play the game, finished his career as the only player in NFL history with more than 40 interceptions and 25 sacks. Simply put, Barber was one of the most versatile defensive players of his era. Playing cornerback for the bulk of his career, his move to free safety in his final season was evidence of just how dynamic Barber was; in that final campaign, he snagged four interception and logged 92 tackles. Over his career Barber amassed 1,044 tackles, 28 of which were sacks. He his Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in interceptions and defensive touchdowns, tallying 47 and 12 respectively. A Super Bowl champion with the Bucs, Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time first-team All-Pro.

Upon learning of the prestigious honor, SuperBook Sports sat down with Barber to get his thoughts on becoming the newest member of the gold jacket family.

SuperBook Sports: First things first. Can you walk us through the moment you found out you were going into the Hall?

Ronde Barber: The process has changed. I’ve seen this process a lot over the years, with Derrick Brooks (HOF Class of 2014), Warren Sapp (HOF Class of 2013), and John Lynch (HOF Class of 2020). John talked me through this process when he got in. I think 2020 was the last year they had the “knock” at the Super Bowl. So, they did just do it at the house. My wife Claudia is telling me to open the door. We have this glass window in our house and they can’t hide the camera crew that’s there. So, I see the camera crew, turn the corner and open the door and Derrick Brook’s is sitting outside wearing his gold jacket. He just gave me a hug. We hugged for a little bit, and he pushed me back and said, “I just want to be the first to welcome you to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and can’t wait to be your teammate again.” 

SB: It had to be even more special since it was your friend and teammate Derrick Brooks.

RB: Yes. We were teammates – and we had all those great players on our defense – for most of our careers. We played the most games together in Bucs’ history, probably close to the most in NFL history. It’s two guys playing on the same team together for that long, so yeah, it’s special. He’s a good friend and he’s been very instrumental in the past couple of years trying to get me into the Hall of Fame. He’s been there; he has a voice in the room and he pushed for me hard, especially after last year. He thought I was getting in last year, and for it to turn the corner in one year and get the right number of people to say yes was big.

SB: Guys are always humble when they get in, but at the same time, you’re the most competitive people on the planet. As you said, you expected to get in, thought you might last year, and now it’s happened. How do you balance that humility and competitive drive that makes you want to get in?

RB: I need to stop being humble (laughs). I think everybody thinks they deserve to be in if they’ve had the type of career that would merit induction. I know I did special things. I can look at the history of the NFL and see that nobody else has even come close to doing (some of the things I did). So, I’m very comfortable in saying that I thought I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. I will never deny that. But of course, it’s not me. I can’t speak for the guys that are making those decisions. All I can do is have my presenter Ira Kaufman go out and present me as something that isn’t there yet. And that’s exactly what they did. So, is there a thin line? For every single one of us, you have to have a certain sense of arrogance, and selfishness to a degree, to be great. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great team player. I think I was a great team player. I think I have as much respect and love for my guys that got in before me as anybody – not just on the Bucs, but everybody in the Hall of Fame. If you’re in a conversation, you’re probably deserving. It’s kind of the way I look at it and I don’t know one guy that that’s in, or is close to being in, that doesn’t say or think they belong there. 

SB: But you’re a quiet star. Just observing you this week at all the Super Bowl festivities, there are guys walking around with a huge entourage, and they’re not in the Hall of Fame and might not ever be in the Hall of Fame. That’s not you though. You kind of move silently. Given that backdrop, what’s it feel like to literally be in the spotlight of the entire football world right now?

RB: I spent a lot of time feeling like people discounted what I did. So I was always moving in shadows. Because nobody was trying to prop me up. Even when I led the league interceptions in 2001, it wasn’t like people were saying I was the greatest defensive back. I knew that; I thought that I was, but nobody else thought that. I never tried to make other people believe what they didn’t want to believe. I was just going to show them. That’s kind of how I live my life. That permeates my existence. I go to the golf course, and I’m probably one of the bigger names at the private golf club. And everybody’s the same there to me; I don’t need an entourage. I don’t need people to glorify me. I’ve kind of done that by myself in my head, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to feel special. Some people craved that. I’m just not one of these guys. 

SB: Why do you think people discounted what you did on the football field over your career?

RB: I wasn’t a first-round draft pick. I didn’t look the part – I was short and 184 pounds. A lot of people will say I was slow. You know, just try to find the reasons. If you don’t look like Charles Woodson, how can you play like Charles Woodson, right? There have been plenty of corners in the league over the years that have had success not being prototypical. I wasn’t prototypical. People want to use that against you at times just to push their own narrative. And I just didn’t buy into it. Did I have a chip? Maybe not. Maybe. I just let it roll off my back. Because I know I’ve always been successful. I was successful in college. I was successful in high school. I was a national champion in track and field in high school. Everything I’ve done, I’ve always been successful. With that comes an expectation of success, right? Even when people were doubting me or when my career got off to a slow start, I was expecting success. I didn’t see it ending any other way. It’s that whole “here’s ‘plan A’ but what’s your ‘plan B?’” idea right? It’s like, I don’t have a plan B because plan A is going to work. It’s manifested. It’s destiny. You bring it up, you put it in the universe, it usually answers itself, right? 

SB: It’s an individual honor, but there are always other who help get someone to this point. Who’s on your shortlist of thank you’s?

RB: My brother Tiki. I mean, obviously we’re twins, we did everything together. We competed together and against each other. When we weren’t doing the same thing, we competed against each other’s successes. I’ve been asked, “Are you jealous of him when he, does something?” No. If he does something well, then I want to do something well. We’ve always kind of been that way. So, that was, that was an internal driver. My high school coach, who was actually my junior high coach and moved to my high school, Steve Spangler. That guy was instrumental. I had a love for football maybe before that, but when I played for him, I knew I loved football. Then it was just a long list of coaches. I could go through all my coaches to be honest with you, but I would say the most influential one of them was Mike Tomlin. He’s the one that gave me a belief that I could be different. I don’t think there’s any coincidence that the year he became my coach in 2001, that my career trajectory just skyrocketed – my first Pro Bowl, led the league in Interceptions, a couple years later I got my 20th sack. which was a milestone that Mike put on my radar which I wasn’t even thinking about. He just gave me a belief that I could be something unique, out of the ordinary. He used to always say, “To whom a lot is given, a lot is expected. And you’ve been given a lot. You can do a lot of things, and we are asking you now to do a lot of things – and we expect you to do them.” Putting that expectation on me gave me a platform to thrive on, and obviously I did. 

SB: This is all very new still, but have you thought about the speech yet?

RB: A little bit. I don’t think I know how to start it yet. You don’t want the lede to be buried. Like, what is your theme and what is the reason that you’re talking about yourself going into the Hall of Fame? That’s what I have to figure out. I’m a success story, for a lot of different reasons. I took what I had, my gifts and my talents, and I did something that nobody else has ever done. I feel like that part will be reflected in my speech; but I don’t know how I’ll do it without sounding cocky. I’ll find a way.  

{Foreword and Interview by Doug Ottewill, SuperBook Sports}

The Big Game

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
State Farm Stadium – Glendale, AZ
6:35 PM ET (Sun)
SuperBook Line: Philadelphia -1.5

This is it. It all comes down to this. After 21 weeks of play, two teams remain: The Eagles and the Chiefs.

This one is not only set to be an epic matchup between the league’s two best teams, but it’s also one for the history books as Jason and Travis Kelce become the first brothers to ever play against each other in a Super Bowl. It’s also the first time two black quarterbacks will face off in the big game.

Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are arguably the league’s two best players in the NFL today; both were finalists for the MVP award. On Thursday, Mahomes walked away with the award, which was no surprise as he threw for 5,250 yards and 41 TDs this season.  The Chiefs will be looking to win their third Super Bowl and the second in the Mahomes era.

Hurts’ accomplishments cannot go unrecognized, however. The quarterback threw for 3,701 yards and 22 TDs in 2022. Hurts also ran for 760 yards and 13 TDs. He and the Eagles will be looking for their second Super Bowl win; the first with Hurts at QB.

This game truly is best against best. Kansas City and Philadelphia are tied for the league’s highest-scoring offense at 28.7 PPG. When it comes to defense, Philly ranks sixth in the NFL and Kansas City ranks 15th. However, it has been much closer throughout the playoffs as Philadelphia has the top-ranked defense throughout the playoffs and Kansas City has been No. 3.

Philadelphia, however, will be facing their toughest challenge yet. They first faced the Giants, who despite having a tremendously improved season, were never considered a top offense in the NFL. Then, in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles caught a big break against the 49ers; with Brock Purdy’s injury early in the first quarter, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Eagles. Now, they will face the Chiefs, a team with a star-studded offense.

Kansas City has seen better teams thus far than Philadelphia, but the Chiefs haven’t seen the complexity that head coach Nick Sirianni brings to the table. This will be the first time these two teams will have played this season, and it is a dream matchup when it comes to the Super Bowl.

No matter the outcome, Sunday should be fun. But when it’s all said and done, it’s hard to go against proven things. Mahomes has been to two Super Bowls in his career. His record may be 1-1, but this time Tom Brady isn’t on the other side and he isn’t playing with nine toes.

Hurts is an outstanding talent and there is a lot to be said for the greatness of the Eagles, but Mahomes and the Chiefs are on a mission. They want to prove to everyone that they are a dynasty. That’s a powerful force.

Steve Quinne’s pick: Kansas City M/L (+105)

Prop Shop

Chiefs margin of victory 9-12 points (15/2)

Steve Quinne has Kansas City winning 31-20, with the 11-point margin of victory falling right in this range. This also provides a little wiggle room, with various score combinations in play. For those who really trust that prediction, the Chiefs winning by 11 is 17/1, which is a great value. Either way, go with Kansas City to pull away at the end and win by low double digits.