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January 1, 2006
A Classless Exit Staged By Low-Rent Ownership

Mike Tice has never been one of my favorite coaches -- his tenure as head coach for the Vikings has had a lot more to do with his cheap contract than any success on the field for any of his teams. He should have been fired after the revelation that he had set up a ticket-scalping operation involving his players over several years, but the new ownership elected to keep Tice and his cheap salary around, even after the Love Boat scandal earlier this year.

After all of that, and after Tice led the Vikings back into respectability in the second half of the season and thumped the Chicago Bears at home today, owner Zygi Wilf couldn't even wait until tomorrow to announce that he had fired Tice:

The Minnesota Vikings fired coach Mike Tice after Sunday's victory over Chicago.

Owner Zygi Wilf announced he would not renew Tice's contract in a statement less than an hour after the Vikings' 34-10 win over the Bears in the regular season finale. Tice, who compiled a 33-34 overall record -- including a 1-1 record in the postseason -- had already addressed the media before the move was made public. The announcement came via press release after most players had left the Metrodome.

"I don't know who was more shaken by it, him or me," Tice said of what he called an emotional meeting with Wilf.

I'm not disputing the decision. I think the Vikings need better leadership on several levels. However, the coach just won a game in a rout against a division rival -- against their second-stringers, but a big win nonetheless -- and finished the season with a winning record after a 2-5 start. In my opinion, that earns Tice a couple of days to enjoy the victory and hang out with his players as something other than the man cleaning out his office.

It shows that the current ownership will extend an unfortunate streak of classlessness for the foreseeable future. I guess it can't all be blamed on the players.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 1, 2006 9:01 PM

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