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December 20, 2005
Vikings Coach Blames Fans For Loss

You think I'm kidding? Think again. After seeing their winning streak halted at six games by the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach and chief boob Mike Tice found yet another way to shed all class -- a tricky proposition, given that his players already faced charges for flying prostitutes in for an orgy on Lake Minnetonka. Now Tice has decided that the real culprit in the Viking's lackluster effort against the Steelers wasn't the fault of his offense or defense, or even special teams, at least not entirely. Oh, no -- it was the fans who didn't cheer the Vikings to Tice's satisfaction:

Vikings coach Mike Tice blamed his team's 18-3 loss to Pittsburgh on its sputtering offense and frazzled special teams. But make no mistake: Tice wasn't happy with video workers at the Metrodome, nor the fans that filled it Sunday.

Tice said Monday he was really bothered by the number of Steelers fans that procured tickets and attended the game. He also suggested the Dome's JumboTron operators could do a better job favoring the home team.

First things first: Tice estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Steelers fans were at the game, curtailing the Metrodome's home-field advantage. If Tice's figures are accurate, that means at least 10,000 of the Vikings' season-ticket base sold their tickets.

"It confuses me, I guess," Tice said. "Maybe they're not really diehard season-ticket holders or maybe they needed the money for Christmas presents. I don't know. One of the two."

Maybe some of the people in the Twin Cities would rather support a classy organization like the one in Pittsburgh, Mike. Besides, Tice has no room to complain about selling tickets to the game. Just last March, the NFL discovered that Tice ran a ticket-scalping conspiracy out of his locker room for years, exploiting his players to stick money in his own pocket by scalping his and their allotment of Super Bowl tickets. Tice didn't even have the guts to take the blame when the NFL's investigators first uncovered the scalping ring and attempted to put the blame on a former player instead before cracking:

Two investigators from the league's security staff were in the Twin Cities on Tuesday to question Tice and Vikings running backs coach Dean Dalton about the alleged ticket scalping. In a reported five-hour meeting with the investigators in Tice's office, the head coach admitted he scalped some of the Super Bowl tickets he obtained this year, but denied approaching any Vikings players about scalping their tickets. A Vikings source said Tice maintains that Dalton was the intermediary who dealt directly with the players and the person who purchased their tickets for a California ticket agency. ...

"I sold some of my tickets this year,'' Tice said. "I did. I told the league that and I told [team owner] Red McCombs that. I'm not going to lie. But if I'm going to be thrown out this year for selling tickets, then I'm a scapegoat. If I'm guilty of anything, I'm guilty of selling some of my tickets. I am not guilty of buying any player tickets since I've been made the head coach [in January 2002].''

Tice has also acknowledged that he scalped Super Bowl tickets as a Vikings assistant coach from 1996-2001, and that he told his assistants this year it was all right for them to sell their Super Bowl tickets to a California ticket agency that he has long dealt with. ...

"Dean is going to be the one taking the fall,'' said a former Vikings player from the 2003 team. "Tice was running it all, but he worked it through Dean so it didn't get traced directly to him.''

Maybe Tice should have used a couple of those tickets for himself instead. It would be the only way he'll ever get to a Super Bowl.

The fans didn't blow a chance to get on top of the playoff-bound Steelers when Antwaan Randle El fumbled a punt on his own 3-yard line, and the Vikings offense couldn't score a touchdown. Fifty thousand die-hard Vikes fans turned out to watch their favorite team put up a lousy, sleepwalking effort made even more frustrating by the fact that the Steelers didn't need to play much better to beat them. The Steelers played only their third dome game in the past two seasons and managed to overcome their own mistakes and get whatever motivation that 20,000 fans (Tice's estimate) gave them to persevere through an off game to win it.

Mike Tice can't go through one season without demonstrating that he's an idiot. Will new owner Zygi Wilf join Tice in blaming the fans for the team's crappy effort, or will Wilf decide that perhaps the problem has been Mike Tice all along?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 20, 2005 9:22 PM

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