Dave Wyman of 710ESPN Seattle stumped me on the air Thursday by asking for information regarding icing the kicker.
I'm generally aware of the evidence suggesting there's little point in calling timeout right before the opposing team attempts an important kick. But I hadn't seen updated figures. So, I promised to take a closer look.
Wyman was asking in relation to the Seattle Seahawks' decision to call timeout before the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Bryant attempted the winning 49-yard field-goal try in the divisional playoffs Sunday. Seattle called timeout before the attempt. The Falcons snapped the ball anyway. Bryant missed his non-counting attempt. Bryant then made the winning kick following the timeout.
The chart shows field-goal rates in the final minute of fourth quarters by distance for iced and non-iced kicks since 2001, counting playoffs. The overall percentages are the same. Iced kickers have made a higher percentage of longer-range kicks. Perhaps it's easier lining up the longer ones when given additional time. Perhaps there aren't enough attempts to make such a conclusion.
Bryant's attempt against Seattle falls into a range where the numbers suggest calling timeout might not matter much either way. Filtering just for 49-yard tries, iced kickers have made 4 of 6 since 2001, counting the one Bryant made. Non-iced kickers have made 3 of 6 from that distance. Not much to go on there.
Wyman, co-host Bob Stelton and I also discussed the Seahawks' hiring of Dan Quinn, the Arizona Cardinals' search for a head coach, and that other small detail in the NFC West this week: San Francisco's appearance in the NFC Championship Game.