By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
(AP) - Andy Reid stood in the middle of the Eagles' locker room after his team barely survived against the New York Giants last weekend, and apologized.
"I owe you one," he said with a smile.
Reid wouldn't have been smiling and almost certainly still would have been apologizing had New York's Lawrence Tynes nailed his second attempt at a 54-yard field goal in the final seconds Sunday night. A nanosecond before Tynes booted his first try, Reid called timeout to ice the veteran kicker.
It wasn't the first time a coach tried the ploy and it won't be the last. Yes, it sure has gotten cold on a bunch of NFL fields this season, with winter still far away. But some say icing should be reserved only for hockey.
Including Reid's own quarterback, Michael Vick.
"I don't believe in icing the kicker," Vick said. "You give everything. You let them kick it and if it's good it's going to be good. If not, you can't play games. I don't know who started that, but we have to end that tradition."
Reid seemed well aware of how the home fans would have reacted if his decision backfired.
"Yeah, when you're surrounded by 66,000 that probably want to rip your throat out at that time, that's about twenty-fold what Custer felt," he said.
Tynes probably was kicking from beyond his range _ he's never connected from 54 yards _ so he appreciated the chance to get in a "practice kick," which sailed wide left. The one that counted came up a few yards short.
"I would never let a guy kick it," said Tynes, whose resume includes kicks that won two NFC title games. "I would call it even before, well, after he gets lined up. I don't understand the wait till the last second thing.
"It's part of the game now, so you know it can happen. I don't think you should worry about it."
Nor does David Akers, the All-Pro kicker of the 49ers who has spent 14 seasons kicking football through uprights _ icing or not.
"I just go out and try to kick every time," he said. "If the whistle is blown, I step back and I still approach the ball again as if I was walking on the field. It's basically the mentality I've always had on it.
"Does it affect anyone? I don't know. I guess it depends on the individual and circumstance and environment."
Eagles specials teams coordinator Bobby April sees the value in the strategy, but only to a point. He equates to onside kicks, recalling that the Saints won a Super Bowl in part because they recovered such a kick to start the second half.
"Icing the kicker is like trick plays or fakes," April said. "You're brilliant if they work and you're something else if they don't."
Some coaches are thinking twice about doing it in the wake of so many mixed results.
The Jaguars' Mike Mularkey saw it work for Reid but fail for Miami's Joe Philbin, and that got him wondering about the value of icing.
"I've seen it (backfire) more than not, I really have," Mularkey said. "I've done it and I'm seeing more things happen that are not positive by doing it.
"A lot of things that come down to that moment, but there's a lot of things that you think you have the answer, but when it happens you have to make some decisions. It really depends on the situation with the number of timeouts, where are you, do you need them? It does factor in. But I have been a little bit swayed by what's happened to teams (recently). It's happened more than enough to go `Wow!' so I'll think about it."
So will Philbin after his decision cost the Dolphins. Jets kicker Nick Folk had his 33-yarder blocked by Randy Starks, but the whistle had sounded just before that as Philbin signaled a timeout. Folk then hit the retry in overtime.
"I thought it was the right call," Philbin said. "I was planning all along to call timeout right before he kicked the ball. ... Typically we're going to ice the kicker."
But why? Where's the edge?
In fact, it could work to a kicking team's advantage because the "warm-up" attempt can give the kicker a feel for the wind and the footing. It can give away the defense's strategy for trying to block the field goal. It provides the center with a practice snap.
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