Miami Dolphins: What Can Joe Philbin Learn from NFL History When Icing Kickers?

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent ISeptember 24, 2012

Sept. 16, 2012;  Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin looks on from the sidelines during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

To ice or not to ice? That is the question. 

Miami Dolphins rookie head coach Joe Philbin decided the answer to that question was to ice the kicker in his team's Week 3 clash with the New York Jets—a decision that backfired on him mercilessly.

You see, his defense blocked the would-be field goal only to find out their coach had called a last-second timeout.

Nick Folk nailed his second attempt right after he changed his shorts.

It's been a long-standing tradition for many coaches to ice kickers, and Philbin isn't the first to have gotten burned in this exact same way by making the same call. But coaches continue to adhere to the thinking that it's better to do whatever it takes to get into the head of kickers who have game-winning kicks in front of them. 

Here's a bit of information Philbin may want to take a look at before deciding to "ice" kickers in the future, courtesy of a 2010 Wall Street Journal article, via XTRA 910's Mike Jurecki:

WSJ' Since 2000, NFL kickers made 77.3 percent of field goals in the final two minutes or overtime when no timeout was called before the kick.

— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) September 24, 2012

WSJ' But when a timeout was called, kickers made 79.7% of these field goals, no matter the distance.

— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) September 24, 2012


What this information tells me is that icing the kicker is more of a superstition than an actual recipe for success. Kickers have actually fared slightly better when being iced than when they have to go right into the game and kick. 

Football players are like anyone else. For kickers, getting "iced" is the new norm. They are used to it, and therefore it just isn't an effective way of tilting the odds in your favor to keep using the same tactic.  

Philbin's decision to call a timeout cost his team a chance to win the game. Rest assured, he'll think twice before doing it again. 


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