Don't Sleep on Mike Tice as a Potential Replacement for Lovie Smith

| January 6th, 2012

Note: Be sure to make your selections for the Fantasy Playoffs on the previous post. The prize is six delicious Lou Malnati’s pizzas sent to your door.

Mike Tice came to the Chicago Bears as the offensive line coach. Now he’s been promoted to the offensive coordinator position. And if he is able to build a rapport with the soon-to-be appointed General Manager, is it a reach to believe he could one day be Lovie Smith’s replacement as the organization’s head coach?

Tice is the kind of football man the city of Chicago loves. He is a big, hulking figure on the sideline, drawing the eye of every fan at Soldier Field on Sunday. (The eye is usually accompanied by an inquisitive “who is that?”) He talks straight to the media and displays a Ditkaesque humor that hasn’t been seen in the man in charge since, well, Ditka. (Though no coach has ever done anything funnier than Dick Jauron taking four knees against Tampa.) He is also about toughness. About an old school means of playing football that may bore the fans down in New Orleans but still thrills the loyalists on the lake front. For Tice, gaining five yards on a third-and-one dive is just as exciting as hitting a forty-yard throw over the safety.

Tice is a character. He’s a personality. And aside from his in-game mistakes, what’s barred Lovie Smith from gaining fan love is his seemingly detached personality and clear otherness. (No, I don’t mean race.) Lovie is not Chicago. Or Pittsburgh. Or Jersey City. He is not city tough. He is small town Texas calm.

Tice is going to be a head coach again. His firing in Minnesota had little to do with his coaching and much to do with his failed attempt to manage a collection of jerkoffs who had little respect for the game of football or the law. While Tice was hired by Lovie and they share offensive philosophies, he is not a Lovie guy. That distinction might help him in the long run. Because if the Bears disappoint in 2012 but see improved line play and showcase a consistent rush game, Tice deserves to be considered as Smith’s replacement. I know I would firmly support the candidacy.

Especially if he can convince Dave Toub to stay. (Bet you didn’t expect that ending.)