Monday, September 24, 2007

Icing the kicker

Even the biggest Raiders basher had to chuckle at how Oakland beat Cleveland on Sunday. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was obviously paying attention in Week 2 when Broncos coach Mike Shanahan called a timeout just before Sebastian Janikowski hit a 52-yard field goal in overtime. Janikowski missed on the re-try and Denver won the game. Kiffin did the same thing to the Browns on Sunday. The first attempt was good, but voided because of the timeout, and the second attempt was blocked.

There’s nothing in the rules that says a coach can’t call a timeout at the last instant, which basically forces the kicker to attempt the field goal twice. To use an example from another sport, a runner stealing second base on a 3-2 pitch can’t look back and see if the pitch is a ball or strike. He has to keep running. A kicker can’t assume the whistle is going to blow – he has to kick it.

That seems a bit unfair, but unless the competition committee comes up with a solution this offseason to avoid last-second timeouts, there will be more of it in the NFL. Coaches like stealing ideas from other coaches, and this one has worked twice already.

No comments: