Icing the kicker

Icing the kicker

In the sport of American football or Canadian football, the art of icing the kicker or freezing the kicker is a tactic employed by defending teams to disrupt the process of kicking a field goal just prior to the snap. Typically, either a player or a coach on the defending team will call time out just as the kicker is about to attempt a game-tying or game-winning field goal. This is intended to make the kicker nervous and increase the likelihood of him missing the kick.

One variant of this tactic, attributed to Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/sports/football/21icing.html?_r=1 "Icing Kicker: New Tactic Has Drawn Double Take"] "The New York Times", 21 October 2007] , is to call time out from the sidelines as the ball is snapped. This prevents the kicking team from realizing the kick will not count until after the play is over.


A study was undertaken by Scott Berry, a statistician and the former chairman of the Statistics in Sports section of the American Statistical Association, where every field-goal attempt made in the 2002 and 2003 seasons was studied. It was concluded that, for field goal attempts of higher difficulty in the 40-55 yard range, icing the kicker causes the likelihood of a successful attempt to drop by about ten percent. On shorter kicks, the effect was found to be negligible.


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