The idea behind icing the kicker is that by calling timeout before a potentially game-winning field goal, you can make the other team’s kicker nervous. That seemed to work for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak on Thursday night.
Except that Panthers kicker Graham Gano says that isn’t the case. Gano split the uprights on a kick that didn’t count just after Kubiak called timeout, then missed a minute later, but he says he doesn’t think the timeout affected him.
“I’m perfectly calm in those situations. It’s not different than any other kick, really. I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Gano said. “Those are the moments that you dream of, so it hurts. You want it back. I’m human. I’ll probably think about it for a little while, but we’ve got another game next week. I’ve just got to move on.”
Statisticians have researched icing the kicker and found that NFL kickers are about equally likely to make a game-winning field goal whether or not the other team calls timeout just before that field goal. So it’s easy to believe Gano when he says he didn’t feel the timeout affected him. Even if Kubiak’s ploy worked.