Icing the kicker is dumb, should go away forever

Print

My internal monologue Sunday as Titans kicker Ryan Succop lined up to attempt a 53-yard field goal in the final seconds against the Chiefs:

Don't do it, Andy. Don't you do it. Get the hell away from the ref, Andy. No, Andy. No. No. No. You must resist temp... damn it.

Andy Reid called a timeout. Succop's kick fell short, but it didn't matter. Andy Reid, by his own will and volition, had given Succop a dress rehearsal for the biggest kick of his career. We all know by now what happened next.

You know that awful feeling during a fantasy draft when you're on the clock, time is running out, so you panic and pick someone like Blake Bortles in the third round? And then that waterfall of raw sewage (it's really regret) washes over you as you think to yourself, "Oh okay, so everything is terrible now."

Here's the real football equivalent:

Andy knew it. He knew it. The second Succop's kick fell short, Reid understood that he'd just given Succop the greatest gift the former Chief could've asked for this Christmas. Twas the gift of knowledge: "Oh, so kicking it that hard isn't good enough. I must now kick it harder."

Succop said so himself after the game, explaining that the results of the first attempt informed him to throw the sweet science of kicking out the window in favor of a let-it-rip mentality. This comes with its own drawbacks, of course, and one could imagine Succop missing this kick seven times out of 10 with this strategy. This just wasn't one of those seven times.

So what have we learned? What can we take away from Reid likely costing the Chiefs the AFC West in infuriating fashion? Oh, I don't know, how about this: STOP ICING THE FREAKING KICKER.

I hate icing the kicker more than state trooper speed traps. I hate it more than Kevin James sitcoms, the state of U.S.-Russia diplomacy and the old racist man who thinks he's the mayor of my neighborhood Starbucks. And that guy's the worst.

Icing the kicker is infernal group think of the highest order. I don't know who started it -- it was probably Mike Shanahan -- but whoever did should be sent away. Somewhere ... cold ... somewhere with ice. Yeah, ideas are percolating in the Ironic Punishment Division.

One thought: NFL coaches should look to baseball for a path to freedom here. The 2016 season was a game-changer for strategy in MLB as managers across the league suddenly bought into the idea that it was wise to use their best relief pitchers in a game's most high-leverage situation, whether it be in the ninth inning or the fifth.

The logic was all there and it undeniably helped both the Cubs and Indians reach the World Series. In the same postseason, we saw the old-school strategy -- "My closer only pitches in the final inning with a lead!" -- cost the Orioles their season. It was like a eureka moment for an entire sport.

Reid should take this hard lesson and be at the forefront of ending icing in the NFL forever. Start spreading the word, corner other coaches at offseason events, make them understand. Become the Anti-Icing advocate this sport so desperately needs.

"I've been burned by icing," Reid would say to a surprised and uncomfortable Jim Caldwell in a storage closet at the combine. "That doesn't mean you should be, too."

Print