Icing the kicker an ongoing concern for competition committee

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.”

53 responses to “Icing the kicker an ongoing concern for competition committee

  1. Easy solution…simply change the rule to say that (on any play) a timeout can only be called by the players on the field once the play clock gets below 5 seconds left.
    So if the defense wants to “ice the kicker”, one of the 11 defenders will have to try and time it right. And if he mis-times it, it is to his detriment because he may be caught off-guard and unable to help block the kick.

  2. Pretty simple in the 4th with under 2:00 and overtime(all of it) Don’t allow the defense to call a time out when the play clock is under 8 secs in FG situations.

  3. “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.”
    Wouldn’t work like that. What happens then if you shift the formation or simply send a player in motion? Or what if the team in field goal formation is running down the clock and the other team has a timeout?

  4. although i freakin hate it, when it happened to my Redskins, its not bad for the game
    and it definately isn’t illegal

  5. How about limiting time out in FG formation to less than 5 seconds on play clock. sure that might allow for some “trickeration” on the offenses part, but wouldn’t THAT be exciting and sell more tickets?

  6. It’s an ongoing concern for Shanahan also.
    Because that BS has worked out wrong against that dope, twice now.
    Raiders vs Denver
    Texans vs Redskins.
    Both times the first kick failed, ah, but the TO from Shanny. Re-kick, and gooooooood! Dope

  7. jeresy73,
    that sounds good but what if the QB is about to get called on a delay of game.
    wouldnt be fair, if it effects every other lineup
    it should be a special team rule.
    i hate Gary Kubiack
    that game was OURS!

  8. I don’t have an issue with the concept of “icing” the kicker. However, I’ve been following professional football since the mid-80’s, and it seems to me, it used to be, “oh, ok, call the time-out to give the kicker an extra minute or two to “think” about the kick”, obviously in an attempt to “psych” himself out of focus or concentration. No problem with that.
    But, over the last few seasons, you’ve seen these coaches manipulate this rule to the point where the kicking team is already in the process of executing the play only then to find out it doesn’t count, for the time-out was called a half-second before. That’s bullshit. I feel it should be comparable to the replay rule, in that, if the ball is snapped, no replay of the previous play, no time-out, no re-kick. You wanna “psych” him out? Fine. But to make him kick it twice is unfair. The kicking team gets the snap off before the officials can notify the teams to cease play, the kick counts, make or miss. This shit of a coach pulling an official to the sideline, holding him there until 1 second on the play clock, and having him call the time-out doesn’t need a “Competition Committee” to tell me that’s horseshit.

  9. What’s next…not allowing rushers like they do in pee wee football? After that, they won’t allow defenses to disguise coverages in order to not confuse the quarterback. Fix the rule that cost Calvin Johnson a TD and screw the kickers…the team doesn’t like them anyway…

  10. It almost always fails. but who cares,,, just another stupid thing to cry about…
    You know what makes me upset?
    when the other team scores. so lets do something about that.

  11. MDS, your solution ignores the possibility that a team might have the wrong personell on the field at that time. It’s impossible to craft a rule that applies only to the silly “icing the kicker” timeouts, without affecting standard, totally kosher timeouts used to stop the clock and/or bring new personell on the field when it’s recognized that something isn’t right.

  12. @jersey73 not all game winning FGs are within the last 5 seconds, maybe even the last 60. it should be the PLAY clock, not the GAME clock, that determines when the coach can call a timeout. but then kickers will demand, at the very least, a $5M/year raise

  13. Who cares about those 30 second timeouts used for icing the kicker. I want to end the TV timeouts after every score and/or change of possession that ice the fans.

  14. To say the fans don’t like it, many don’t like the rule where the QB can throw the ball away either but they still do it. The defense works there tails off and have the most disadvantage on the field. People are crying about a kicker being iced. COME ON MAN!!!

  15. Keep it the way it is.. icing the kicker works for both parties.. there have been times where coaches iced the kicker only to find out the kicker missed or haves the kick blocked by the team that called it(Saints) and it came back to bite them.. if you have the timeouts saved you should be able to use them whenever..

  16. I like the idea of “once the center has his hand on the ball”, but a different option could be that the kicker has to raise his arm before field goals (like he does on kickoffs). Once he has raised his arm, a defensive timeout is no longer recognized.

  17. “It’s an ongoing concern for Shanahan also.
    Because that BS has worked out wrong against that dope, twice now.
    Raiders vs Denver
    Texans vs Redskins.
    Both times the first kick failed, ah, but the TO from Shanny. Re-kick, and gooooooood! Dope”
    Shanahan didn’t call a time out on the Texans’ game-winning kick.
    But don’t let the facts get in the way of you making stuff up.

  18. i don’t care one way or the other about icing the kicker. i’m more pissed about the running clock that cheats the fans out of a number of plays per game.

  19. auz is right on all counts, and jagged mark i think the word u were looking for for shanarat is… DOH!
    icing also backfires. one has to read the situation right. sometimes the kicking team WELCOMES EXTRA TIME.
    they made it agin the rules to line up right over the center against pat/fg.
    shall we, paraphrasing alex karras, now also outfit kickers, holders, punters and centers with tutus?
    i implore u good gentlemen to quit throwing out the baybuh with the bath-water!
    if it is the greatest game ever, then libtards STOP @#$%ING WITH IT.

  20. Coaches are employees. They will do what they’re told. Blaming the coaches is a cop out. They simply aren’t clever enough to come up with anything better than what they have.

  21. convince says:
    September 29, 2010 8:18 PM
    Pretty simple in the 4th with under 2:00 and overtime(all of it) Don’t allow the defense to call a time out when the play clock is under 8 secs in FG situations.
    Yeah! And if the defense does anyway and forces us to watch more stupid commercials assess them a five yard penalty and make any resultant misses null and void!
    president frankenstein says:
    September 29, 2010 8:36 PM
    Seriously? As a fan, i was never aware that fans had a problem with icing the kicker.
    We do when we are forced to watch another 90 seconds of stupid commercials!
    Do you know how this got started? Some idiot coach was standing around about to get beat and realized, “Hey. I’ve got three timeouts remaining. Why not use one just to prolong the agony and look like I can actually effect the outcome?”
    Well it worked. The kicker missed and that coach got credited with, you guessed it, icing the kicker. So now every coach feels obligated to do the same because, why, it just might work. Actually, it usually doesn’t, but the fans and the media will assault him if he doesn’t.
    It’s you loser fantasy geeks and gamblers that are ruining it for the rest of us….
    Fantasy football? Really? God, get a date!

  22. “Icing the kicker”, which has been done for a long time, is not a problem.
    What IS a problem is the chicken-shit shananigan tactic of calling timeout mid-snap. They are not the same thing.
    I don’t know what can be done about it. Maybe nothing. Maybe they should allow it, but then let the kicker have a free kick at the time-out happy coach’s meat sack immeditately after the play.
    I know at least one of you competition committee fellas reads this site and may be curious enough to read the comments. Please make this happen.

  23. There used to be a code of honor between coaches back in the day. For the most part coaches didn’t do things in bad taste or poor sportsmanship. Unfortunately those days are long gone. It’s been this way with players for some time now. I’m not surprised the coaches have no integrity either. The TO’s or Haynesworth’s of the world would have been dealt with by their teammates or the opposition one way or another. They would have gotten those asses whipped. Shanahan is the one who started the whole thing. I’m pretty sure he won that game too. I bet if he had to do it over again he would take it back. In the Houston game he had that look like “I guess I deserve this”

  24. Just what we need…more friggin’ rules…another time out…another half dozen commercials and another half dozen previews of upcoming network programs! Pretty soon, the No Fun League is going to start looking like baseball…4 hours of television to televise 60 minutes of action. YUCK

  25. I don’t mind icing the kicker, but something must be done here. How about the timeout must be called before the kicker is set (ie when he marks off his steps)? This keeps the game and play clock out of the mix. This still gives the defensive team time to call the timeout without being dicks about it.
    I think it borders on unsportsmanlike the way coaches are doing it now.
    As soon as the kicker is ready to kick, then no timeout unless there is a shift in formation.

  26. Icing the kicker doesn’t work because everyone in the stadium and watching or listening to the game knows its coming and expects it.
    If one wanted to get inside the kicker’s head they should NOT call the expected timeout and force the kicker to kick before he was expecting to.
    Why nobody has figured this out I don’t know but its further proof that football coaches are not brilliant men and are instead followers and superstitious.

  27. fleet10 has it exactly right. If you want to “ice” the kicker and force him to think about the pressure of missing the kick, do it before the kicking team comes to the line and sets the ball.
    I dislike it when coaches pull this B.S. as well, whether my favorite team is involved or not. It provides an unfair advantage to the defending team. Just like a kick return, the kicking team is now somewhat gassed by going entirely through the play sequence and risking injury to a player all for nothing. If the whistle is too close, you risk a distraction where a kicker might hesitate and injure himself trying to stop, or planting wrong. There is no need to pull this stunt and as a fan, it just pisses me off. The league will probably just let it go until someone is seriously injured on a “non-play,” and then they will scratch their collective dirtbox wondering why they never did anything about it before.

  28. When did icing the kicker become a problem? It’s been going on for decades, but all of the sudden everyone is all up in arms over it. Nothing needs to be done at all.

  29. JaggedMark says: September 29, 2010 8:23 PM
    It’s an ongoing concern for Shanahan also.
    Because that BS has worked out wrong against that dope, twice now.
    Raiders vs Denver
    Shanahan used against the Raiders, and it worked, costing the Raiders the game. The very next week, the Raiders used it against the Browns.

  30. Lamest rule in sports. They should leave it up to the ref as to whether he allows it. In baseball the ump doesnt have to grant a batter time. Also, the refs have this built in time where they have to see the play clock hit double zero, THEN check on the ball, THEN blow the whistle when they call delay of game. Notre Dame got whored on this vs Mich St. And Dallas got away with it at the end of the half last week. The Refs should have to get the request from the coach, check on the cnap, THEN blow the whistle. They also need to get away with the mid air TO’s that basketball lets you call.

  31. Look what happened this past weekend, the dumb ass coach calls timeout the guy misses the field goal. Lines up again and makes it, It great for the game. But IMO, a very dumb tactic for a coach to use.
    Plus if you change the rule and a coach sees he only has 10 men on the field it would be taking a liget way for him to use this timeout
    Keep it like it is.

  32. It killed me, as a Redskins fan, to see my team lose that way. But, let’s not forget the blown 17-point lead that they let slip away which would have made this a non-issue. Or, the stupid mental mistake by Fred Davis on the FG attempt that would have iced the game for the Skins.
    I don’t like seeing coaches ice kickers either, but I don’t see any sensible way to outlaw it.

  33. OK, let’s break this down, shall we.
    The offense lines up in standard ST FG formation (“10 fat guys & a kicker”). 3 options: (1) Kick, (2) Fake, (3) Call timeout on themselves.
    Defensive options: (1) Block That Kick, (2) Watch for fakes, or (3) Call timeout to regroup, strategize, “ice the kicker”, whatever you want to call it.
    Current problem? Pigskins sailing thru the uprights for all to see, only to be overruled by zebras and hushed conversations. Not exactly in “the spirit of the game”.
    TV solution: D can line up only 10 men to reserve the right to call timeout. 11 men down acknowledges the kick try by formation, just as the O must declare their intent by formation.
    Then, just lock out timeout calls (by either side) in the last 5 sec. Most kicks go with less time than that on the clock, right? That gives all players on the field: (1) fair knowledge of the rules in this situation, (2) time to prepare for the kick, and (3) assurance that whatever happens within those final 5 seconds, is up to their play.
    Does that just make the D call TO with 6 seconds left instead? No, because (crucially) that means that the kicker doesn’t actually have to expend his energy + focus on a bogus try. Plus, they’d have to be in a 10-man-or-less set, so it’s not like the O couldn’t see it coming.
    Too, the O can’t call 2 timeouts in a row (that’s a penalty, remember? see: Buff @ NE, 2010 week 3…). So it’s not like they’d freeze themselves with 6 on the clock. Or they could get sneaky and boot it early given the man advantage. Hey, nothing says the D can’t line up their full 11, that’s their rightful call as well.
    And then, what’s left but the try and see? Which is what we all wanted, however it flies, right. 😉

  34. Simple. Change the rule to indicate when the play clock is stopped a coach cannot pull an official to the side and hold him there to call a timeout on his command. The coach needs to work with the official to time it just right (you see them side by side all the time doing this). So if the officials do not allow coaches to use them in this way it would be much harder for a coach to try to ice the kicker. They’d have to run up to the official to call the time out and possibly miss time it.
    This would still allow coaches to work with officials on a running clock to stop it say with 3 seconds left to kick a winning field goal.

  35. There’s a simpler solution. There are a whole bunch of technically legal but undesirable strategems that are prevented by rules that allow the referees and commisioner to punish teams that employ them (i.e., football equivalents of Eddie Gaedel). The commisioner just has to say that if you call timeouts in an unsportslanlike way, you face escalating fines and possible reversals of game results.

  36. Leave it the way it is. Stop complaining about something that ISN’T a problem. Fans may not like it, but they aren’t the ones trying to win a game.

  37. Here’s a really technically difficult idea… Ban sideline timeouts on special teams plays. make it come from the field. It would at least make it more difficult to do.

  38. JSpicoli says: September 29, 2010 8:20 PM
    It’s bush league.
    I agree completely. Seeing it come back on Shanarat was really nice though, I have to say.

  39. @ ost2020 Basketball no longer allows timeouts to be called while the player is airborn with no chance of landing in bounds. It’s a rule that was put in place at the start of last basketball season.
    Secondly, why not just eliminate kickers all together and start each possession with an opposing team throw from the 30 yard line instead? Make it a touchdown only league. That would also eliminate the playing for a field goal in overtime problem that the competition committee is fighting over.

  40. STATS show that ICING the kicker, really does not do anything……just this year, there are just a lot of bad kickers.

  41. If I were a coach for the kicking team, I would tell my guys to kick the ball even if the whistle blows for a timeout by the defense..It would be a free practice kick..

  42. Icing the kicker doesn’t affect pro kickers or most college kickers.
    It is more difficult to run the offense off the field, run the kick team on the field, and make the kick before the play clock runs out. Giving the kicker a timeout only helps the kicking team setup the play.

  43. It is a pansy move that should NOT be allowed
    Do not take away the coaches right to call a timeout but demand that if they do take a timeout it must be for some reason OTHER than icing a kicker
    And if a coach does it and tries hiding it with excuses….fine them
    Problem solved

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