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Time to Abolish Icing the Kicker Rule

This past weekend the Houston Texans beat the Washington Redskins in overtime thanks to the sleuthing maneuverings of coach Gary Kubiak. In the opening weekend of the college football season, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham made the same move and saw it backfire. Regardless of the outcome, the trick needs to go.

Icing the kicker.

You’ve seen it happen plenty of times before. One team is losing but setting up for a potential game-winning field goal. The other team has timeouts to burn (like taking money to the grave, extra timeouts are useless), and they decide to spend one right as the kicker is approaching the ball to attempt his kick.

Whether the kick was made or missed does not matter; the process will have to be repeated after the timeout. Some coaches will try calling a second timeout if they have ones to spare (this can backfire in the NFL and result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty). Or it can result in a “d’oh!” as it did with Utah, because opponent Pitt missed its second field goal but was spared by the timeout which allows for a do-over.

Regardless of the situation, the rule should be abolished.

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Icing the Kicker Works to Perfection for Kubiak, Texans

Icing the kicker can have a tendency to look like an unnecessary waste of time when a game comes down to a last-second field goal attempt.  On Sunday, we were given a prime example why the practice is so common.  The Washington Redskins and Houston Texans played to a 27-27 tie through regulation and the Texans ended up taking the game 30-27 in an exciting overtime.

After the Texans opted to punt instead of trying a 52-yard field goal with their first possession of extra time, the Redskins drove the ball to the Houston 34 and were in place to try a 52-yard field goal of their own.  Mike Shanahan made the decision to try the kick rather than punt and Skins kicker Graham Gano drilled the field goal.  It appeared Shanahan’s squad had improved to 2-0 on the season.

The only problem with that is Texans head coach Gary Kubiak called time out to ice Gano at the last possible second, nullifying the kick.  You can guess what happened on the second field goal attempt.  It went wide right and the Texans took over.

What seems like an annoying practice turned into a brilliant coaching move for Kubiak, as his squad drove the field and put Neil Rackers in position to drill the game-winning kick — a 35-yarder.

Oh yeah, and Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards.  Couldn’t get to 500?  What a bum.