Icing the kicker just before the kick is the big fad in football this season.
I don’t know about it being such a great strategy. It seems to backfire as much as it works, if, indeed, it is the last-second timeout that makes a kicker miss in the first place. I mean, how do you know the guy missed because you called time out? Some guys just aren’t great kickers and probably have just as good a chance of missing on the first try.
I can see the tactic working with high school kickers. There aren’t a lot of good ones to begin with. In college, as you climb up the divisions, kickers get better and better, physically and mentally. By the time you reach the NFL, the kickers are so skilled and so professional, I think they rarely are rattled by such things.
This tactic has been studied by statisticians, and they say it has some effect, although that seems like a strange conclusion. You can have a miss and miss, a miss and make, a make and make, and a make and miss. How does a miss and a miss get counted? Some say the sample used was too small to reach a conclusion anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, Princeton tried to ice Colgate kicker Jacob Stein by calling two timeouts in a row near the end of the game. Stein didn’t care, and kicked a 33-yard field goal to win.
Then, Saturday, Utica College coach Blaise Faggiano called timeout just before the snap when Alfred’s Eric Lockwood was attempting a field goal late in the second quarter. Lockwood kicked and missed. He made the 34-yarder on his second chance, and Faggiano was seen shaking his head and laughing at himself.
“I’ll never do that again,” Faggiano said this week.
Then, Sunday, the Jets’ Jay Feely was setting up for a 52-yard field goal, pretty much out of his range. Raiders coach Tom Cable called timeout, and the kick bounced out off the left upright. On the next try, Feely made it. Luckily for Cable, Sebastian Janikowski eventually responded with a team-record 57-yarder to win in overtime.
So, tell me how it is a good strategy? Maybe, in high school, or if you know the kicker is a Nervous Nellie in college or the pros. Otherwise, what you’re doing is giving the guy a practice kick. Plus, it is a tiresome and boring.
Of course, coaches always look for an edge. Maybe you’ve just got to do something. So, if it is a gimme field goal, maybe you think about icing the guy. If it is 45 yards or more, I think you’re better off taking your chances.