Tuck rule eliminated

The NFL owners meeting has concluded and the tuck rule, infamous of the Patriots’ snow game victory over the Oakland Raiders in the lead up to New England’s first Super Bowl, has been abolished by the competition committee.

The Jan. 19, 2002, game is also known as the “Tuck Rule” game because on a play late in the fourth quarter it appeared Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fumbled after being hit by the Raiders’ Charles Woodson. But after a replay review, referee Walt Coleman announced that the ruling was reversed based on the NFL’s tuck rule, which states if a passer’s arm is moving forward when he loses control of the ball, even if trying to tuck it away, it is an incomplete pass and not a fumble.


Coleman explained his call after the game.

“Obviously, what I saw on the field, I thought the ball came out before his arm was going forward,” Coleman said. “Then, when I got to the replay monitor and looked at it, it was obvious his arm was coming forward. He touched the ball. And they just hooked it out of his hand. His arm was coming forward, which makes it an incomplete pass.”

Over the years the interpretation of the rule has been inconsistent, leading to wide confusion over what was a fumble and what was a tuck.

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