Tom Brady admits controversial ‘Tuck Rule Game’ ‘could have been a fumble’ 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, reigniting 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, “That could have been a fumble.”
The seven-time Super Bowl champion then backtracked, quoting tweeting his video saying, “I said maybe. Such a tough call. No choice but to respect the officials’ probably correct ruling.”
The Raiders responded to the video on Twitter saying, “I knew it.
They say time heals everything, but it’s still a touchy subject for the Raiders and their fans.
Now, to take a look at this piece 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 then hosted the 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, a play and a referee’s decision make it an iconic game and one of the most controversial in recent NFL history: the Tuck Rule game.
Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson tackled Brady, landing the ball in the field and allowing Oakland linebacker Greg Biekert to recover the ball. Many thought it was a fumble, which would have essentially sealed the game for the away team.
After officials reviewed the play, it was determined that Brady was in a throwing motion and attempting to “dock” the ball to his body, making it an incomplete pass and the Patriots keeping the ball.
The Tuck Rule states: “When [an offensive] player holds the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm triggers a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he attempts to drive it back towards his body. “
New England eventually advanced into field goal range and a 45-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri sent the game into overtime. The Patriots won the game and then won 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 didn’t end after the season, the “Tuck Rule Game” has been debated ever since, with many, possibly even Brady, calling it a fumble.