There’s nothing more annoying for a fan watching a football game than to spend a few seconds celebrating what he thinks is a game-winning field goal, only to find out that the play didn’t really happen because the opposing team’s coach called timeout a split second before the ball was snapped.
The NFL’s competition committee understands that fans don’t like icing the kicker, has discussed the issue in the past and plans to continue discussing it in the future. But no one is quite sure whether anything can be done about it.
“This is an issue that we’ve talked about the last two offseasons and we will talk about, I’m sure, again,” competition committee member Rich McKay told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen today on NFL Total Access. “No, question, nobody likes the look. The look doesn’t seem right because at home the camera is going to follow the ball and doesn’t necessarily come back to the fact that there was a timeout called. And, in the stands, I’m sitting there in Row 25, I’m watching the kicker, I didn’t really notice the timeouts on the sidelines.”
Although there’s evidence to suggest that icing the kicker doesn’t even work, some coaches believe in it, and unless there’s a rule against it, those coaches will continue to call timeout just before potentially game-winning field goals by the other team. And McKay said coaches have resisted any rules changes taking away their ability to call timeout when they want.
“Coaches were pretty quick to say, ‘Hold it. We don’t want to be in a situation where you take away the right for us to call a timeout,’” McKay said.
I’d like to see a rule saying that when the offensive team is in a field goal formation, the defensive team can’t call timeout after the center puts his hand on the ball. But McKay says the league so far hasn’t found a way to eliminate icing the kicker that the coaches can support.
“Last year we probably spent a couple hours in the room talking about it, and we will do it again because the look isn’t right,” McKay said. “But I would say it was hard for us to find a legislative solution that was still fair to the coaches that gave them the ability to call a timeout when they need a timeout.”