November 26, 2004
Saints to L.A.? Tice to Washington?

maas.jpg

Benson Tries Out For Scrooge

With the New Orleans Saints having an awful season and visions of a taxpayer-financed stadium now dancing in the toilet, owner Tom Benson seems to be losing interest in the NFL franchise that he has owned for some 20 years.

According to my guy "Da Pope" in New Orleans, Benson has even canceled the organization's annual Christmas party. He also is cutting costs at the team headquarters, including the food budget. Sound familiar?

Yeah, Red McCombs and Benson, both car dealers, are buddies. They must be having meetings together to even try and figure out how to use one office building and staff to run both NFL teams!

In any event, it appears that Benson will shift, like McCombs, to maintenance mode for the next few months as he tries to decide whether to cash out come February if the team can't finagle the cash cow of a shiny new venue in which to play the home games.

The guess here is that Benson eventually will sell to Larry Ellison of Oracle, who'll move the team to L.A. That, while bad for Saints fans, at least takes away one method of getting out of the Twin Cities if McCombs can't sell the team locally. McCombs would then be more pressured to sell to a local guy and increase the chances of getting a stadium bill passed.

Regardless of how it plays out, the situation in New Orleans will be a big part of what is shaping up to be one of the wildest and most unpredictable offseasons in years.

Washington Huskies Interested in Tice?

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the name of Vikings coach Mike Tice has surfaced as a possible candidate for the head-coaching job at the University of Washington.

Tice, who declined to comment on the situation on Wednesday, is in the final year of his Vikings contract. However, the team holds a $1 million option for 2005.

Tice owns a home in Seattle, dating back to his days with the Seahawks.

I've never quite come to champion Tice. He's just always come across to me as being, well, over-matched when it comes to facing veteran NFL head-coaches. From time management issues to handling Randy Moss' recent hamstring injury, Tice just seems to be in learning mode.

So, it would not break my heart to see Tice go. However, I'd rather retain him than have to deal with McCombs try and bring in the cheapest available coach...which is what he would do.

Posted by maasx003 at November 26, 2004 11:08 AM