Coaches that have decided to ice the kicker during a pivotal kick have been handsomely rewarded so far this season compared to statistics from previous seasons.
According to piece done by STATS, when a timeout has been called by a coach this season before a field goal attempt to tie the game, or to go ahead, in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, kickers have gone on to make just under 37% of their attempts (7 of 19).
Compared to previous season totals, that's way, way down. Under those same circumstances in 2012, kickers made just under 82% of their kicks, in 2013 it was 64%, and last season kickers nailed 80%.
According to the article, Butch Jones and his staff did some historical research on when and (more importantly) who to ice during his time in Cincinnati. His findings? "What we found is if it was a younger kicker, you'd want to ice him and call timeout right before the snap. If it was a veteran kicker, if you're going to ice him, you'd ice him early."
Take that and do with it as you please.
Doing some quick research and math, we found this rather interesting.
We'll have see how this one continues to play out over the remainder of the season, but if the trend continues (for whatever reason), you have stats pretty heavily on your side that support saving a timeout late in the game to ice a kicker who could tie, or win, the game.
Having that info in your back pocket could prove to invaluable.
One reader brought up a really good point that would be interesting to see.