NFL news of December 16, 2002

Mike Tice was the talk of the NFL on Monday.

In coaching meeting rooms from Cleveland to San Francisco, Tice’s brazen two-point conversion call to avoid overtime and steal a 32-31 victory in New Orleans on Sunday was rehashed. While not every coach said he would have the courage to pull the trigger, all applauded Tice’s decision.

…On Monday, Tice, who was besieged with national talk radio requests, said he didn’t realize just how unusual his decision was. Only twice since the NFL added the two-point conversion in 1994 had a team tried for two instead of kicking the extra point in the final two minutes of play. Jacksonville tried it in 1995, and Chicago went for it in 1997. Both times, it failed.

“I didn’t realize we’re the first to do it until much after the fact,” Tice said. “You know me and how I play the percentages. Maybe I wouldn’t have tried it.”

…Tice stunned everyone at the Superdome after quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to receiver Randy Moss with five seconds remaining to cut the Saints’ lead to 31-30. A buzz came over the dome as the Vikings’ offense remained on the field. Tice had determined early in the final drive that in such a situation, he would attempt a two-pointer to win the game rather than go to overtime.

…The plan was to use a running play the Vikings had practiced for weeks: Culpepper off right tackle in an alignment with no running backs and four receivers.

Culpepper scored, but it wasn’t easy. He bobbled the shotgun snap, then mishandled the ball again before picking it up and running it in.

— Bill Williamson, Saint Paul Pioneer Press “Vikings’ winning two-point conversion has NFL coaches abuzz”

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