Raiders’ fans, close your eyes…
Eleven years later, the NFL is finally reconsidering the tuck rule, which was blown into proportion by the play you see above.
Late in a Divisional Round playoff game in 2002 between the Raiders and Patriots in snowy New England, Tom Brady appeared to have fumbled the ball after a hit by Charles Woodson, and was recovered by Oakland. However, after the officials reviewed the play, the ruled that Brady’s arm was going forward, therefore making it an incomplete pass. That gave the Patriots new life, as they tied the game late in regulation and won it in overtime on a field goal.
The tuck rule, established in 1999, reads:
When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.
“This is going to be part of a bigger discussion in the offseason of QB pass/fumbles and the tuck rule with the Competition Committee,” said Dean Blandino, the director of officiating. “This will be discussed in the offseason.”
No rule reversal will ever make things fair for the Raiders and their fans. The following year after the “Tuck Rule Game,” they lost in the Superbowl to the Buccaneers, and have not made the playoffs since.