This morning the Atlanta Falcons confirmed what was first rumored by ESPN’s Vaughn McClure and reported by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post last night, that the team has hired Mike Tice to coach their offensive line. Tice is known for his emphasis on toughness, likely meeting the desires expressed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank earlier this week about adding that element back to the team.
Tice was out of football this past year after spending several seasons coaching the offensive line of the Chicago Bears. His last year there in 2012, he served as the team’s offensive coordinator. That year, he was able to maintain the Bears success running the football, as they posted a top 10 ranking in rushing yards, similar to what they did the year prior. Before being named offensive coordinator, Tice spent two seasons coaching the Bears offensive line. No NFL team gave up more sacks in those two seasons than the Bears, as the team combined for 105 sacks allowed from 2010-11. But in the year where Tice was calling the plays and had direct control over the protection schemes, that number was reduced to 44 sacks, which ranked 25th in the league.
Prior to joining the Bears, Tice worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years, including two in which he was on the same staff as Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Tice first joined the Jaguars in 2006, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive assistant, before adding duties of coaching the team’s tight ends in 2007.
Tice landed in Jacksonville after four years as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, where he compiled a 32-32 record. His first chance to become the head coach of that team came in 2001, where he was the team’s interim head coach after the dismissal of Dennis Green. The team lost the lone game in which he coached that season. Tice was promoted to interim coach after being the team’s offensive line coach for five seasons. During that time, Tice tutored five Vikings starters that earned Pro Bowl bids, including firsts for centers Matt Birk and Jeff Christy, and tackles Todd Steussie and Korey Stringer. Tice was first hired by the Vikings in 1996 to coach their tight ends after playing three seasons with the team at that position.
Tice’s NFL career began in 1981 with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland, where he played quarterback. He played for the Seahawks until 1988, and again from 1990-91 before joining the Vikings in 1992. He sat out of football in 1994 before playing one last year with the Vikings in 1995. He also played briefly for the Washington Redskins in 1989. During the course of his NFL career, Tice played in 117 games, starting 110 of them, and caught 107 passes for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns.