It really doesn’t matter who ices the Dallas Cowboys kicker, it seems to be an effective strategy. Last week Dan Bailey’s own coach, Jason Garrett, inexplicably provided the freezer burn by calling timeout just before the kick. The field goal was good but called off because of the last second time out. Bailey missed the next one. This week New York Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin opened the freezer door at the last second with similar results. Again, Dan Bailey’s first was good but called off because Coughlin called a timeout just before the snap. The rest is now history as Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the second attempt.
So what do we make about icing the kicker. This doesn’t really happen in other sports. Can you imagine Tiger Woods standing over a 12-foot putt to win the Masters and Phil Mickelson running onto the green calling a timeout? Imagine Mariano Rivera pitching in Game-7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. How would it work if with two outs in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and a 3-2 count, Bobby Valentine ran onto the field and called a time out from the dugout just as Rivera is about to release the ball. Ok, that might be a bad example because Valentine would probably do that … What about an opposing coach calling timeout a nanosecond prior to Kobe Bryant releasing the ball attempting a game winning foul shot? Or the same thing with a penalty shot attempt in the NHL?
There’s no doubt that a kicker should be able to make a kick whether it’s before or after a timeout, but to allow an opposing team to be able to call a timeout during the flow of the game for the sole purpose of playing mind games with the long snapper, holder and kicker is messed up. To be honest, if I’m sitting on the toilet and my kids start beating the crap out of each other and I have to run out and break it up, when I get back into the bathroom there’s a good chance I may have “missed my window” and I’ll have to wait before I can get my mojo back. Yes I know that’s not exactly the same because in the instance of the kicker he misses the kick and I’m not going to then miss the bowl and crap all over the floor, but you get the point.
Major League Baseball doesn’t do much right either when it comes to administering rules, their use of instant replay for one thing is certainly messed up. When it comes to calling a timeout in the flow of the game however they have it correct. If a batter attempts to call a time out just as a pitch is about to be thrown, the umpire uses his discretion as to whether or not the timeout request should be granted. If the request for time comes too late and is going to disrupt the flow of play, the umpire doesn’t have to grant it. That’s the way it should be in football. If an opposing player or coach wants to call timeout between plays, any two plays, they should be able to do so provided they have a timeout to call. If that timeout causes the kicker, long snapper and holder to have to stand around and ponder the situation, so be it. However once the offensive signal caller starts his cadence initiating the start of a play, the officials should not grant a timeout call to the opposing team.
In the instance where you have a coach with a Princeton degree that wants to call a timeout at the last second while his own signal caller is about to start the play, that’s different. It’s hard to prevent people in society from self inflicted injuries. They have hotlines and support groups for that type of stuff.
When inmates are on death row, attorneys can often file last second appeals and sometimes have the proceedings halted just prior to the execution for various reasons. But this isn’t life and death; it’s a football game that’s often decided by momentum and the ebb and flow of the game. The NFL needs to implement a rule that states a timeout shall not be granted to the opposing team in the final two minutes of a game once the signal caller starts his cadence.