COMMENTARY: Will ex-Viking Mike Tice ever be a head coach again
MINNEAPOLIS It'll be a tough Sunday for you Vikings fans, but let's march on toward what I believe will be one of the most intriguing Super Bowls ever: The NFL's most storied franchise (Green Bay) vs. its most successful franchise during the Supe...
It'll be a tough Sunday for you Vikings fans, but let's march on toward what I believe will be one of the most intriguing Super Bowls ever: The NFL's most storied franchise (Green Bay) vs. its most successful franchise during the Super Bowl era (Pittsburgh) ...
Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice is the Chicago Bears offensive line coach. From this vantage point at least, the game basically comes down to how Ticey's boys up front handle all the looks and blitzes and dogs and two-man lines, one-man lines and everything else that Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be throwing at them.
I talked to Brian Billick, the NFL TV analyst, Super Bowl champion head coach and former Vikings co-worker of Tice. Billick called the job Tice has done with the talent he's had, "nothing short of miraculous."
"It's one of the unsung jobs for Chicago and one of the great coaching jobs in the league this year," Billick said. "Chicago did nothing to add to that line from last year. He came in and didn't complain about the players he had. He took that line intact and, even moreso, moved them around and coached them up."
When the Bears went into their Week 6 game against Seattle, they were using their fourth different offensive line in five weeks. The Bears lost and the line was terrible.
By the time the two teams met again in the playoffs last week, Tice had solidified the line and the same unit was playing its 10th straight game together. The Bears won easily and the line played extremely well.
Tice took a career risk and turned it into possibly his first trip to a Super Bowl. Not bad.
Tice is signed through 2011. He's the kind of guy, it seems to me, that he's either going to be a position coach or a head coach. But Billick said he thinks Tice would make a good offensive coordinator. Maybe he could. Who knows.
I think Tice is a more natural head coach, and I think the job he did with the resources he had under former Vikings owner Red McCombs looks better every year.
Two things that come up when Tice is mentioned as a head coaching candidate are: the Love Boat fiasco and the Super Bowl scalping mess that got him in trouble and fined 100 grand.
First, I think it's baloney that he gets blamed for the Loveboat. Those were grown men that boarded the Love Boat on a bye week.
As for the Super Bowl tickets, yeah, it was stupid. Even more stupid that he got caught for doing what a lot of other people in the league were doing. But he paid the fine and should be allowed to move on. What Bill Belichick and the Patriots did in Spygate was a lot worse. They paid the fines and moved on.
Billick said he'd like to see Tice get another head coaching job.
"Can he take that jump again? I'd like to think so, but who knows," he said. "The game has become a GM's league. He may very well be a guy GMs are looking for in particular. They're looking for guys just to coach now. I know he'd love to be a head coach. If they can continue on this path they're on, yeah, I can see him being a head coach. They're winning and he's coaching his butt off."
And what about Billick. When might we see him back in coaching?
"Who knows?" he said. "They're looking for young coaches who come cheap. And I'm neither. I enjoy what I'm doing, and I'll live a lot longer."
In the NFC game, I like the Packers. I like the Packers' defense against Cutler better than I like the Bears' defense against Rodgers. I'll go Packers 27-24.
In the AFC, I hate picking against the Jets -- again -- but I'll stick with the best defense in the league and the big-game QB I'd want among the ones who are still playing (Ben Roethlisberger). Give me Steelers 24-21.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.