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Does Icing The Kicker Really Matter?

A lot has been said about how Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett called timeout just before his kicker, Dan Bailey, was set to go for the game-winning 49-yard field goal. He kicked it and it was good, but because of time being called it did not count. The real attempt ended up short and to the left, putting he game into overtime where the Arizona Cardinals would come away with a 19-13 victory.

Long has it been a strategy for opposing coaches to try and "ice" a kicker by getting them out of he their rhythm with a timeout just before the ball is snapped. The belief is that by giving the kicker more time to think about the kick, he will overthink things and miss it.

For fans, this has been a terrible practice. It slows things up. But had Garrett not done it himself, would Ken Whisenhunt have called the timeout himself? Said he:

"Was I ready to? Yes. I was thinking about it. But I'll be honest, if you remember the last time we played them in an overtime game, you remember what I did then? I iced the kicker, and he had missed it, and then he made it after the timeout. So when the timeout was called and he made the kick, there was no way I was going to ice him at that point. I figured the karma had to turn around. Now, I was faking I was calling it. And they called timeout before I had to make that decision."

Darren Urban over at made sure to point out that the timeout that was called early enough that the whole kicking team offensive line stood up and Bailey basically used the kick as a practice for the real thing.

As to the effectiveness of "icing," Cardinals kicker Jay Feely tweeted that it actually "helps."

Unless the kicker is Neil Rackers, I can totally see that, especially if the ball is snapped. It is a practice kick.

My theory is that, in general, calling that timeout is equal to Russian roulette. If the kicker misses the kick and timeout is called, it is a second chance and an opportunity to adjust. If the kicker makes it when time out is called, that is where it can cause tricks. The kicker will have made the kick and celebrated, only to find that he has to do it again.

In the case of Dan Bailey, I suspect it had nothing to do with nerves or Garrett's timeout. It had to do with Calais Campbell. Replays showed he got pretty good penetration up the middle. Combine that with his long arms, it was likely his presence that led to a slight adjustment. Add that to the fact that Patrick Peterson was well into the backfield on an extra point and how many kicks the Cards have blocked this year, and you get a recipe for a missed field goal!

In any case, we will take it.

Does icing really work? I guess the answer is "sometimes, if you're lucky."