Tom Brady is the most successful quarterback in NFL history, having won 7 Super Bowl rings. But what started it all off was a rule that has since been repealed in 2013. This is known as the "Tuck Rule". It stated:
"When a 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."
It was in force during the 2001 NFL season and played a major role in giving Tom Brady his first ring.
Tom Brady and the Tuck Rule Game
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were playing the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Divisional Round at a snowclad Foxboro Stadium. With 1:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Patriots were 13-10 down when Brady tried to pass the ball, but was tackled by cornerback Charles Woodson. The ball came out, and Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert recovered the ball. The officials called it a fumble, allowing it to be reviewed.
Upon review, it was seen that even though the quarterback had tried to tuck it in, he had begun the forward motion of his arm, thereby the dropped ball constituted an incomplete pass instead of a fumble.
An incomplete pass returned the possession to the New England Patriots and they got into field goal range, which they converted with time expiring to set up overtime. In overtime, they would go on to score another field goal to progress ahead. That season, they would go on to win the Super Bowl in what was the first of six Super Bowls Brady and Belichick would win together.
Without the tuck rule in place, in the current guise, it would have been a fumble and the Raiders would have won. The current 8th rule states a fumble to be:
"A fumble is any act, other than a pass or kick, which results in a loss of player possession."
In section B of Rule 8 it states:
"If the player loses possession of the ball during an attempt to bring it back toward his body, or if the player loses possession after he has tucked the ball into his body, it is a fumble."
Without the tuck rule, the Patriots would perhaps not have achieved their dynasty. When the rule was repealed, Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, said:
"I love the tuck rule, and forever will, and I know [former Raiders owner] Al Davis, may he rest in peace, is probably smiling."
Brady himself signaled its importance in his career, believing that if that fumble had dumped the Patriots out, next season he would have reverted to the backup quarterback behind the returning Drew Bledsoe, who he was relieving that season.
The arcane rule, more honored in the breach than in the observance, helped establish Brady as the starting Patriots quarterback. New England went on to win the Super Bowl that season. The rest, as they say, is history.
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Q. Did Brady fumble the ball in this infamous playoff game?
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