Jason Garrett Ices His Own Kicker, Tony Romo Supports Him
Phoenix, AZ - Monday, December 05, 2011
Tony Romo, the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, had nothing but praise for the decision of his head coach Jason Garrett to ice his own kicker late in the game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. "Man, coach did a great job there," Romo said after the game. "Icing the kicker always seems to backfire. He was trying to backfire a backfire. Respect."
For those of you who are bigger fans of European football than American, icing a kicker is when you call a timeout right as an opposing kicker is attempting a field goal which would win or tie the game. Supposedly, this helps to get in the head of a kicker and causes them to miss a kick, but when you look at the statistics this isn't true. Check out this chart to see how well icing the kicker works:
|WITHOUT CALLING A TIMEOUT BEFORE|
|35 and shorter||193||216||89.4%|
|51 and longer||23||54||42.6%|
|WITH CALLING A TIMEOUT BEFORE|
|35 and shorter||69||74||93.2%|
|51 and longer||14||25||56%|
So as you can see, kickers who are "iced" actually hit 2.4% more of their field goals than those that are not iced. Garrett was obviously playing the numbers game, and even though none of the major sports telecasts picked up on this, we contacted Garrett and were able to see if this is what he was trying to do.
"Of course that's what I was doing," Garrett said. "Look, I went to Princeton. I'm not the kind of coach that's going to use conventional game plans that give me a 2.4% lesser chance of winning. We felt like we were in his range to give him a chance to kick the game-winner, and I wanted to give him his best chance statistically."
As Dan Bailey lined up for the potential 49-yard game-winning kick, Garrett called a timeout - right as Bailey hit a field goal through the uprights. Unfortunately for Garrett, Bailey had to kick again. He missed the next kick, and Arizona Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling scored on a 52 yard pass in overtime to win the game.
"Look, it's a long kick and normally 75 times out of 100 he was going to make it after the icing. I gave him two shots and he only made it 1 out of those 2. You put a 1 out of 2 ratio over the course of 100 kicks, and he's only hitting 50 out of 100. I put the blame squarely on Dan Bailey, the man doesn't understand numbers! I mean, he went to Oklahoma State. Dez went there and look how great he is at math."
Bailey took most of the blame after the game. "The first one, I felt like I hit it good. Obviously it went in," Bailey said. "We called the timeout, but that is my job to regroup and make the next one. I didn't do that. No excuses. Coach worked out the numbers for me after the game, and I realized how bad I messed up."
Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game. "I was glad they iced their kicker so I didn't have to." Obviously, he's no mathematician.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had a different take on why he thought Garrett iced the kicker. "I thought Jason was just trying to make sure Romo didn't screw it up for us at the end of the game like usual. This one's on Coach, maybe now Tony will stop getting so much bad PR. Poor guy."