The most recent issue of Sporting News arrived yesterday with "NFL Can Mike Tice survive?" above the banner on the front cover. Inside was a feature article on the Vikings head coach entitled "Mr. Big’s shot." Also yesterday, the NFL Network ran a superb NFL Films piece on the Vikings that included a very flattering segment on Tice.
For a guy who just this offseason was embroiled in a high-profile Super Bowl ticket scalping scandal, he seems to have recovered nicely, mediawise.
There couldn’t be a more glaring contract between the media relations of Coach Mike Tice and his predecessor, Dennis Green. Where Green adopted a secretive and often combative relationship with the press while giving them precious few quotes that they could use, Tice is eminently quotable–often to his and his team’s detriment–and has a positive relation with the media.
The directed benefit of positive press as a result of Tice’s relationship with the media is on full display in the Sporting News article:
"If you have any brains, you oughta be pulling for him. I mean, it’s like taking the guy sitting at the bar, the one with all the loud opinions because he knows everything about everything, and giving him a whistle and a head coaching job. He’s one of us, you know what I mean-even if he’s like a foot taller? Hand him a beer and a cigar and put a Knicks game on and he’s the best company."
Except for the hiccup of the ticket scalping scandal–where he would have been far better served personally but just shutting up–Tice has done a fine job of handling the media. And even in that case, where he kept digging himself into a deeper hole with the league with his candor, that very honesty helped him 1) keep the story from lasting longer than it otherwise could have and, 2) gave him credit futher down the road with the press. The Sporting News feature dismisses the ticket scandal in the second paragraph:
"I want to talk to you for a minute. It’s about Mike Tice, OK? You probably think you’re some football genius so you know this Tice guy. Really tall and coaches the Vikings and got in trouble with the league for selling his Super Bowl tickets-what’s the big stink anyway?-and trades away his best player, that numbskull Randy Moss."
Keep in mind that Tice is laboring under the burden of job insecurity with a one-year contract and expectations that if the team does not go deep into the playoffs this year, he’ll be out of a job. This positive press helps Tice personally in the even he’ll be looking for a job at the end of the season, and the abilty to handle the press is no small qualification for a head coach in today’s NFL.