Tice Irritated With MNF Comments

Vikings coach Mike Tice is tired of hearing about comments on his decision to delay taking a timeout and settling for a field goal at the end of Monday night's first half.

Coach Mike Tice's clock management at the end of the first half of Monday night's 31-28 loss at Indianapolis has been second-guessed by everyone from Monday Night Football voice Al Michaels to countless Twin Cities sports radio callers to Tice's own wife.

He's sick of it, too.

"I really don't care what commentators say," said Tice, clearly agitated. "It doesn't really faze me what Al Michaels might say, or somebody that hasn't coached a game."

Tice's decision to go for a field goal after Moe Williams was tackled at the Indianapolis 5-yard line with eight seconds left in the half is the subject of all the debate.

With one timeout left, Tice let the clock run down to two seconds before stopping the clock. Observers have complained repeatedly that Tice should have called a timeout earlier and taken one shot into the end zone. The Vikings settled for a 23-yard field goal and trailed 14-6 at the half.

Tice has defended his decision this week. He said the Colts' defense is designed to take away shots into the end zone. He also cited an NFL rule that calls for a 10-second rundown of the clock for pre-snap penalties with less than a minute left in either half.

Tice said he has an "11-second" rule in that situation. However, that rule would have applied only if the clock were running at that point, said an NFL spokesman.

"If I can't get the timeout with at least 11 seconds," Tice said, "I'm kicking."

Tice is especially sensitive about the comments made by Michaels, who said the Vikings wasted seven seconds getting to the line of scrimmage on the play that resulted in Williams taking the ball to the 5.

"Our entire offense got to the line of scrimmage and we got the play off in seven seconds," Tice said. "I don't think it can be done any quicker than that."

Tice believes fan reaction is based on what is said by the TV commentators. After posting a 0-2 record on Monday Night Football this season, Tice is especially upset with all of the second-guessing by Michaels and MNF analyst John Madden.

"It's always negative," Tice said. "On Monday, we had a gorgeous drive that started at (the Vikings') 8-yard line. We went 87 yards and kept (Peyton) Manning from getting the ball back. We got within eight points and went on to tie the score at 14-14. But all that is said is ‘poor clock management at the end of the first half.' "

Tice said his wife criticized his decision not to attempt another pass into the end zone.

"That's what she heard on TV," Tice said.

Tice is giving Michaels too much credit, and his wife and Vikings' fans too little credit. The natural reaction when the ball is at the 5 and there are eight seconds and one timeout left is to go for seven points. In retrospect, the Vikings needed more than three points there.

The Vikings were on the road against a high-powered offense and missing their best player, Randy Moss. If they're that close to the end zone with a timeout left, most of us would say, "Go for it!" regardless of what Al Michaels is saying.



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