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Does Icing the Kicker Really Work?

Matt Bryant #3 of the Atlanta Falcons
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks nearly came back and beat the Atlanta Falcons, but fell 30-28 on a late Matt Bryant field goal to send the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.

Perhaps the biggest storyline came when Pete Carroll said that he never told the referee that he signaled for a timeout, but it was clear that he mouthed he wanted a timeout. If he hadn’t told a referee, Bryant would have missed and Seattle would have played San Francisco for a third time this year. However, Bryant got a second chance, and nailed it.

This makes you wonder, does icing the kicker really work in late game situations?

ESPN statistics found that since 2001, (including the playoffs), kickers successfully make field goals at an 81 percent rate when no timeout is called, and at a 76 percent rate when a timeout is called.

The average distance for iced kicks is 39 yards when no timeout is called and 36 percent when a timeout is called.

If we went by these statistics, kickers aren’t necessarily affected by being iced by timeouts. So, then why do coaches continue to do it? Had Carroll not done it yesterday, the Seahawks would have won.

Icing the kicker is all in the mind. Coaches do it to make the kicker think longer, and to get their nerves higher as they are about to make a kick that could change their season.

My guess is Carroll will most likely bring to the NFL the case that icing the kicker should be outlawed, but it’s simple, don’t say anything or make any gestures to a referee.

I don’t think icing the kicker works, and by calling a timeout, you could be giving the kicker more time square up a better look to make the field goal.

Coaches will always try to ice the kicker, and sometimes it works, but statistics suggest that coaches are just better off letting the kicker kick.

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