An Icy Morning

Oh, Mike Shanahan, looketh what thou hast wrought.

The first time I ever saw a coach “ice” an opposing kicker, the Denver Broncos were doing it to the Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski. A split second before the snap on a potentially-game winning field goal, Broncos coach Shanahan called a time out. Janikowski’s first kick went through. The kick that counted bounced off the upright.

I don’t know if this was the first time a head coach iced the kicker in quite this way, but it was novel enough at the time that it caught my attention. It seemed to be a dirty trick, and while it has sometimes (rarely) been used to decide games in my favor, it doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not strategy, it’s not better game play, it’s not more talent. It’s simply Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown at the last second.

And now, former Shanahan aide Gary Kubiak uses the same tactic against his old boss to lead his team to an improbable come back victory. Poetry.

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