Shutdown Corner

Pete Carroll may have iced himself out of a championship game

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

Icing the kicker -- calling time out right before the opposing kicker tried to boot a field goal -- can be effective on a situational basis. Per ESPN's Stats & Info, kickers who were iced from 2001 through 2011 hit 76 percent of their field goals, as opposed to 81 percent when a time out was not called. However, the odds decrease for iced kickers in overtime, and if you're trying to get that extra edge, icing is a strategy to try, as annoying as it can be to the football-viewing populace.

Unless you're Pete Carroll, that is. Carroll's Seahawks put together a furious comeback in the second half of their divisional round game against the Atlanta Falcons, rebounding from a 20-0 halftime deficit to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left in the game when Marshawn Lynch bulled it in from the 2-yard line. However, Atlanta drove downfield with two Matt Ryan passes -- one to harry Douglas and one to Tony Gonzalez -- to set kicker Matt Bryant up for a 49-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

[Also: Peyton Manning on losing end of another playoff upset]

As the Falcons set to try the winning field goal attempt, Carroll called time out -- and watched as Bryant missed the field goal just to the right of the goalpost. Because the try was iced, the miss didn't count, and Bryant got another shot. He made that one, of course, and the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship round with a 30-28.

That's a "whoops" on Coach Carroll, for sure. After the miss, Carroll was seen to argue with the officials, which led many to believe that he was trying to establish plausible deniability as to whether the time out was called. After the game, Carroll said that he was talking with the officials about the idea of a "practice kick" -- something he apparently discussed with Walt Coleman's crew before the game.

"The officials told us before the game that nobody's going to get a chance to do that," Carroll said of Bryant's kick after the time out. "I asked them pregame what if somebody does, and they didn't know what the answer was, obviously. I had never heard that before, so I was just challenging it."

Carroll then delivered the most obvious statement possible.

"I would have really liked it if he missed the kick."

Sorry, Coach. You played the odds, and you came up short. Matt Bryant, who was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, didn't.

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