Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Tom Brady admits controversial ‘Tuck Rule Game’ play ‘might have been a fumble’ and not an incomplete pass

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady admitted on Monday that the infamous play in the “Tuck Rule Game” may have been a fumble. Brady posted his confession on social media, rekindling a 20-year debate in the NFL.

Brady said, “The Tuck Rule game against the Raiders,” then looked around as if to make sure no one was listening, adding, “might have been a fumble.”

The seven-time Super Bowl champion then backtracked, quote tweeting his video saying, “I said might. Such a tough call. No choice but to respect the officials probably correct decision.”

Now to take a look at this play and the impact it had, let’s take a time machine back to 2002. 

It was a snowy day at Foxboro Stadium. The New England Patriots were hosting the then Oakland Raiders in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game. The Patriots were led by a young Tom Brady, who had yet to win a Super Bowl.

During the game, one play and referee ruling makes this an iconic and one of the most controversial games in recent NFL history: The Tuck Rule play.

Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson tackled Brady, causing the ball to land on the field and allowing Oakland linebacker Greg Biekert to recover the football. Many thought it was a fumble, which would have essentially sealed the game for the away team.

After the officials reviewed the play, it was determined Brady was in a throwing motion and was attempting to “tuck” the ball towards his body, therefore making it an incomplete pass and resulting in the Patriots keeping the ball.

The Tuck Rule states, “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.”

New England ended up advancing into field goal range and an Adam Vinatieri 45-yard field goal sent the game into overtime. The Patriots went on to win the game and then win that year’s Super Bowl against the then St. Louis Rams, starting the first of two Patriots dynasties and giving Brady his first of seven rings. 

Commentary on this game did not end after the season, the “Tuck Rule Game” has been debated since, with many, possibly even Brady, calling it a fumble.

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