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Icing the kicker may not hurt the kicker, but it can help the defense

Giants defensive end Pierre-Paul reacts after blocking the field goal attempt by Cowboys kicker Bailey in Arlington, Texas Reuters

There’s a belief, supposedly supported by statistics, that calling a time out to ice the kicker doesn’t really hurt the kicker, and thus doesn’t help the effort.

But it can nevertheless have a very specific benefit to the defense.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul explained during Monday’s PFT Live that the meaningless kick coming after coach Tom Coughlin called a last-second time out helped Pierre-Paul adjust his approach to the ball on the next try, changing the path from over the guard to over the center.

And on the next try, Pierre-Paul blocked the kick.

So, basically, icing the kicker with a late time out will now be in vogue again.  At least until a kicker misses the kick that is wiped off the board by a time out and makes the next one.

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10 Responses to “Icing the kicker may not hurt the kicker, but it can help the defense”
  1. earthtopft says: Dec 12, 2011 4:25 PM

    Various well endowed dancers at gentleman’s entertainment clubs have recently received attractive offers for end zone seats. Including food, beverages, and a cash stipend to practice their craft at appropriate times in the course of a game.

  2. trollhammer20 says: Dec 12, 2011 4:31 PM

    Speaking of kick blocks, has anyone else noticed that Red Bryant of Seattle has four of them this year?

  3. medtxpack says: Dec 12, 2011 4:32 PM

    Jason Garrett was jealous Coughlin got to call a timeout…

  4. omegaichiban says: Dec 12, 2011 4:47 PM

    lack of effort by the guard…”oh look, he moved over so i don’t have to block him anymore. oh wait
    he’s jumping up, what’s that oblong thingy bouncing off his arm?” Awwww mannnn!!

  5. nekelund says: Dec 12, 2011 5:33 PM

    This is a case of confirmation bias. Every study indicates that there is no statistical evidence that icing a kicker works and, considering that kickers will generally kick the ball anyways, it would seem that giving a kicker a practice kick would more likely help the kicker by giving him a chance to evaluate wind and other factors and potentially tire out defenders trying to block the initial kick.

    Every time this happens, rare as it is, we forget about other times (and there have been several) where kickers have missed their initial “attempts” only to nail the mulligan thanks to psychologically-suspect, statistically-unfounded superstitious actions of opposing coaches who believe that acting irrationally somehow helps their team.

    While Pierre-Paul deserves credit for blocking the kick, Coughlin does not deserve any. Nor should we buy into this icing the kicker garbage, which is supported even less by statistics than stubborn coaches refusing to go for it on fourth-and-short when losing in the fourth quarter. It is a relic relied upon by coaches who are more concerned with appearances than with doing what makes sense.

  6. xtb3 says: Dec 12, 2011 5:43 PM

    those stats are not applicable.

    the only stats on such timeouts that can show anything are IF the kicker succesfully kicked the ball thru the goalposts and was forced by this freeze to do it again. if he did not even kick it or if he missed on that attempt neither should even be considered and no one has stats on freezes on first SUCCESSFUL KICKS which means it is now in the kickers head that he just had good kick wiped out.

  7. jphoops says: Dec 12, 2011 5:44 PM

    Gmen playoff picture beat the packers in NFC championship game and then shock the world by beating Tim tebow in the super bowl

  8. jphoops says: Dec 12, 2011 5:47 PM

    nekelund | Dec 12, 2011, 5:33 PM EST
    This is a case of confirmation bias. Every study indicates that there is no statistical evidence that icing a kicker works and, considering that kickers will generally kick the ball anyways, it would seem that giving a kicker a practice kick would more likely help the kicker by giving him a chance to evaluate wind and other factors and potentially tire out defenders trying to block the initial kick.

    Every time this happens, rare as it is, we forget about other times (and there have been several) where kickers have missed their initial “attempts” only to nail the mulligan thanks to psychologically-suspect, statistically-unfounded superstitious actions of opposing coaches who believe that acting irrationally somehow helps their team.

    While Pierre-Paul deserves credit for blocking the kick, Coughlin does not deserve any. Nor should we buy into this icing the kicker garbage, which is supported even less by statistics than stubborn coaches refusing to go for it on fourth-and-short when losing in the fourth quarter. It is a relic relied upon by coaches who are more concerned with appearances than with doing what makes sense.

    This guy is obliviously a cowboys fan

  9. rarson says: Dec 12, 2011 6:38 PM

    Obliviously? Really?

    @nekelund

    I don’t see how this is confirmation bias. As Pierre-Paul said, icing the kicker, in this instance anyway, gave him a look which he used to adjust his approach and helped enable him to block the kick. We know that they didn’t block the first kick, and they blocked the second, and we know it was directly caused by Pierre-Paul making an adjustment that wouldn’t have been possible without calling the timeout.

    Nobody is saying “icing the kicker works because it benefits the defense”. They’re only saying that it CAN work to the benefit of the defense, regardless of whether or not it works to the detriment of the kicker.

    No confirmation bias here, because there’s no confirmation.

  10. bigbluefan56 says: Dec 12, 2011 10:40 PM

    It only works when you ice your own kicker!!! DOH!!!!

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