All of the geniuses in town have had Tim Brewster fired for the past two weeks, but the truth of the matter is the final decision to terminate the Gophers football coach was made late Saturday night by President Bob Bruininks and athletic director Joel Maturi.

Maturi met with Brewster on Sunday morning and gave him the bad news.

Not that there hasn't been conversation before between Maturi and Bruininks about ending Brewster's employment, but it appears Saturday's loss to Purdue was the final blow. Personally, I was wrong.

The last thing I thought would happen is that Brewster, who was given a contract extension last year through 2013, would be fired in the middle of the season. He was 7-6 two years ago and 6-7 last year.

Had the Gophers won the Purdue game, the decision might have been postponed. But losing to South Dakota and Northern Illinois earlier this season put his status in doubt.

If you want my opinion, I think the move was a mistake. The big reason I believed that Brewster should have been given another year is I feel, with Bruininks retiring next June, that the new president should have the right to choose the football coach. But the new coach will be named while Bruininks is still running the university.

I have a lot of respect for the University of Minnesota president, but now he has been the guy who has fired two coaches -- Glen Mason and Brewster -- in a five-year period. And you can add the school fired men's basketball coach Dan Monson.

Well, let's face the fact that Maturi, Bruininks and vice president Kathryn Brown made the decision to hire Brewster. Bruininks never met Brewster in person but talked to him on the phone.

Seventh coach fired

So Brewster becomes the seventh football coach to be fired since the Gophers tied with Purdue and Indiana 43 years ago for the 1967 conference title. And firing coaches will continue if the university doesn't correct a lot of the problems that exist, as Mason pointed out several times to me. Just the other day, Brewster was talking about how the lack of a competitive budget and a number of other things made it tough to win at Minnesota.

For the sake of bringing the football program on par with at least Iowa and Wisconsin, I hope the school can attract a first-class coach. But it will be difficult if there are more attractive openings.

Quarterback Adam Weber was asked at the news conference whether he and his teammates have everything necessary to win, and his answer was yes.

But Weber might not be aware of the low football budget, or realize Minnesota is one of five schools in the conference requiring a higher GPA to be eligible than other schools in the league. There are a number of other negatives that have led to seven coaches being fired because they couldn't win.

One positive thing Maturi said at the news conference Sunday was that before Brewster was hired, the school was prepared to pay a coach a lot more than was needed to hire Brewster. But in the case of Brewster, it wasn't necessary to match the big salaries that another big-name coach might have demanded.

Big play by Henderson

A year ago when the Vikings beat Dallas 34-3 in the playoffs, E.J. Henderson was sidelined after breaking his leg in an earlier game against Arizona.

On Sunday at Mall of America Field, he made two interceptions. The second one gave the Vikings the ball at the Dallas 30-yard line, which led to Ryan Longwell's 38-yard field goal and the final points in the team's 24-21 victory over Dallas.

"I watched [last year's Dallas playoff game] at home," Henderson recalled. "I think they put on a great show. I've said that before. Last year, our front four did great.

"It felt good to be out there. To be out there with these guys in a game of this magnitude, even though it was two 1-3 teams. It felt good."

Lewis helps Vikings

Greg Lewis, who is listed on the Vikings chart as a third-string wide receiver, won the San Francisco game last year by catching a last-second, 32-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre. On Sunday, Lewis drew an interference call on Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins, allowing the Vikings to get a first down and run all but 13 seconds off the clock to clinch the 24-21 victory.

"I think it was a great call, the right call by the referees," Lewis said. "They held me.

"No, I really don't consider myself a hero. It was a team effort and everybody did a great job. [It was] just a hitch route and he held me when I stopped.

"I've been here for a year. I'm getting my fair share. I'm really not worried about getting snaps. I just want to win."

New field helps

Longwell, who kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal, said a year ago -- when baseball was being played at the Metrodome -- he would have been kicking in the area of second base. "So we're quite happy with the new turf. And that end of the field is not an issue anymore."

Longwell said he missed one in the second base area when he was a member of the Packers.

"I think it was my rookie year. I think it was 1997," he said. "We've always kind of played away from it since I've been here. Now you don't have to; now you just take it where it is."

Wide receiver Greg Camarillo, who was obtained in a trade with Miami late in training camp, scored his first touchdown as a Viking on Sunday, a 10-yard, first-quarter TD pass from Favre.

"I was in for only five plays in the game," Camarillo said. "I just got in there for a couple of passing plays and Brett reads it out and luckily I was open. I was in for five plays. Got to make the most of them."

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. shartman@startribune.com