Even the most casual NFL fan has probably seen or heard of a game this season in which a kicker nailed a last second field goal, only to find out that the opposing coach had called a timeout just before the snap, making the ensuing kick meaningless.
“Icing the kicker” is an old strategy, but it has taken on a new twist this year because of an NFL rule change. Prior to this year, players on the field had to call a timeout. Now, coaches can do it from the sideline. It seemed innocent enough, but the coaches have already exploited it.
The reason I don’t like this new rule is simple: No football fan deserves to think his team just won the game on a last second kick, only to discover that it didn’t count. At least under the old system, you could see the linebacker turn around and ask for timeout. Now that the “action” is happening on the sideline, you have no idea until well after you’ve already started celebrating.
In last night’s epic Cowboy comeback, the rookie kicker Nick Folk nailed a 52 yarder twice to earn the victory, the first of which was negated because of Buffalo’s coach’s timeout. Even though it didn’t affect Folk, it’s meant the difference between a win and loss for a handful of teams earlier in this young season. But more importantly, it makes for bad football. The solution is simple: switch the rule back to the way it used to be.