Rule 3 Section 21 Article 2-NFL Rule Book-The Rule That Sprang Title Town

The score banner used in 2001, as seen on the ...

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The “Tuck Rule” is quoted as the following: “When Team 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’s been ten years and a day since the New England Patriots played the Oakland Raiders in the 2002 AFC Divisional Playoff Game. It’s been a decade of New England fans celebrating the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins winning championships in their respective sports. The Pats sparking a dynasty. What happened? When did it start? It depends on who you ask but in my opinion it was that game on January 19, 2002. A day with a snowstorm bearing down on New England.

Many across the country say New England fans are spoiled and in some cases it maybe so. But I and many friends had been to games only to leave by halftime or the 4th quarter because the teams just stunk. Celtics hadn’t contended since the 80’s, Bruins since I was born in 72 and do I need to discuss the Sox’s history prior to 2004. So any criticism can go pound sand.

It all may not have happened, save for the “Tuck Rule” call made when Tom Brady was hit by his former teammate at Michigan, Charles Woodson. What looked like a fumble was ruled an incomplete pass. The Patriots came from behind to win the game, beat Pittsburgh and then beat the “Greatest Show on Turf” the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. The rule sucked and was later changed but we’re all happy that it was on the books and the refs called it right.

This Sunday the Pats play the Baltimore Ravens, a tough team for sure. The game basically a decade after that fateful game in the snow. This year the context is different. Now fans are used to winning, with Brady at the helm and Hoody Belicheck as coach. Back then the fans were hungry and the country was still reeling from the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. After the comeback win I still recall calling every friend I had and multiple family members that night; my sister, parents, a few cousins. As well as my friends across the country. In particular my boys back in Amherst, Massachusetts (Smitty, Christian, Al, Rob, etc.). They were having a dual party, for the playoffs and sending Rob McCallister away in style as he was heading to basic training in the army after enlisting to keep Sept. 11th from happening again. Yes, that night was that exciting and emotional.

It’ll be a tough game this weekend but I hope my team can keep the winning ways alive and hold onto the decade for a bit. Thanks to that obscure rule.

That’s my take.


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