I am dubious, purple

Despite a second straight late-season slide, the Vikings picked up Tice’s $1 million option for 2005, ending much speculation about the coach’s future…. The Vikings raced to a 6-0 start in 2003, Tice’s second full season, but finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. They are headed in a similar direction this year, having lost six of their past nine games, but at 8-7 still have a good shot at a wild-card berth.

“Although our expectation of winning the division was not met, we feel that the program Mike Tice has guided gives us the talent base to have success today and in the future,” owner Red McCombs said in a statement. “Our expectations are high for the upcoming playoffs and for next year.”

At the beginning of the year, the Sports Guy mentioned that Mike Tice was threatening to join his bad coaches list, a list that includes Tony Dungy (Colts) and Mike Sherman (Packers) as coaches you should always bet against, all else being equal. He bases this on the idea that these coaches are bad game-time coaches who are regularly overmatched in the chess aspect of NFL football.

Unfortunately, Tice has earned membership on that list several times over in the last four weeks alone. I’ve already complained about his foolish decision to throw the ball instead of using one of the league’s top rushing attacks to cram it down the throat of two teams, Chicago and Seattle, that can’t stop the run. Two unnecessary losses right there.

Then, in the Green Bay game with the score tied, he punts the ball from the Packer 45 on 4th-and-5 with 1:35 left on the clock. Now, this is the conventional thing to do, however, when you’ve got a terrible defense that has reliably failed to stop Brett Favre, the smart thing to do is bet on your offense to get the first down, because even if you fail, it’s better to give them the opportunity to score faster since you’ll have one offensive shot left yourself.

But the conventional is the best one can expect from Tice; hoping for him to do the smart thing appears to be well beyond him. Tice is a good man, but I don’t think McCombs is doing Vikings fans any favor by keeping him around for another season.