Definition of Icing the Kicker

What does the term "icing the kicker" mean in the world of football? What is meant by "icing the kicker"?

In football, "icing the kicker" refers to the practice of the opposing team calling a timeout before an important field goal is kicked.

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"Icing the kicker" is thought to have originated with former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who successfully utilized the trick on Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

After that, the practice became widespread around the NFL. Now, you will rarely have a big field goal take place without the opposing coach calling a timeout just before the kick is made.

Is the practice actually effective? That is in dispute. After all, we are dealing with professional kickers, many of whom have been playing for many years. The thought that a simple timeout will throw them out of their rhythms, after they have performed thousands of these kicks over the courses of their careers in the toughest of conditions, is arguable at best.

Coaches, however, continue to use the practice, though there is no clear evidence that it works.

At the very least, the NFL is likely happy about the practice as it gives the league a chance to cut to commercials (and make more money) when the audience is at their most captive.