Vikes Make History With 2-Pointer

Vikings coach Mike Tice took a chance for a win that may have cost him his job if he failed. The play worked and Tice put himself in the NFL record books.

Only twice in the history of the NFL had a coach tried what Mike Tice did Sunday -- go for a two-point conversion in the final two minutes to win or lose a game.

The first to try it was Tom Coughlin in the Jacksonville Jaguars' first season in 1995. At the time, his Jags were 3-7 and at Tampa Bay. It failed and his team lost 17-16 -- the third loss of a seven-game losing streak.

The second to try it was Dave Wannstedt of the Chicago Bears in 1997. His team was 0-6 and playing the Green Bay Packers. He tried and failed too, losing 24-23.

As Tice joked that he was going to have to explain to the media why he made the decision he did if the play failed, it was clear that his decision was, like the other two attempts, borne out of frustration and desperation. Had he failed, he would have faced the full wrath of the fans and the media, since it had never been successfully done previously.

A failed attempt may well have cost Tice his job. The scenario would have played out that he didn't have the confidence that, if his team won the overtime coin toss, they would score. Or it would go he had no confidence that his defense could stop the Saints in OT as they had failed previously to do with the Bills and Falcons.

Instead, the Vikings were successful and Tice could avoid the scrutiny. After the game, VU was told the team had been working on the play for more than a month and, with two minutes to play, Tice alerted the coaches on the sideline that, if they scored, they would go for two.

In the process, Tice has started his own coaching legacy. And, thanks to the play's success, he will likely have more time to build on that legacy.

* Had the Vikings not been successful on the game-ending two-pointer, much blame would have been placed -- and rightfully so -- on the special teams. At one point, the Vikings had outgained the Saints in yardage by a 192-3 margin. Yet, thanks to a kickoff return TD, the Vikings' lead was just 17-10.
* The only serious injury to come out of Sunday's game was to LB Henri Crockett, who strained a pectoral muscle and didn't play in the second half.
* The Vikings left little doubt with the game on the line who was going to get the ball. On four of the final five offensive plays, Randy Moss was the target of passes -- regardless of coverage by the Saints.
* The Vikings had 291 yards in the first half -- a high for the 2002 season.
* The 17 road losses for the Vikings was the sixth-longest such streak in NFL history -- now vanished, but still part of the historical record.
* Daunte Culpepper threw for 312 yards, breaking a string of 20 straight games without a 300-yard passing day.
* Culpepper's mother was at the game and, following the game, he had an emotional reunion outside the locker room following the victory.
* The Saints broke out their league-approved throwback jerseys -- a gold uniform not typically worn at home. Expect to see them thrown back in the deep recesses of the equipment room following the loss.
* In the first half of Sunday's game, the Saints had four drives -- one TD, two field goals and a punt. The Vikings had five drives -- three TDs, one field goal and a punt.
* Saints season ticket holders don't have a lot of love for Jim Haslett. Since taking over as coach, his team is 16-7 on the road in the regular season, but just 10-13 at home.
* It had all the makings of "Heidi Game II." With much of the country watching the Eagles blow out the Redskins, FOX switched those viewers to the Vikings game -- only to have Washington score 14 points in a hurry and turn a blowout into a game that most of those who started watching it didn't see.
* The Vikings were on the verge of losing a seventh game in which they led or were tied in the fourth quarter. Only Dallas has been in that situation as many times and lost.

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