Déjà Vu: Hilariously Awkward ‘Tuck Rule’ Reunion At Gillette Stadium
If you are over twenty years old and have ever watched an NFL game, you are likely very familiar with the legend of the Tuck Rule; the call that started a dynasty and changed the fate of the Patriots organization forever.
The rule was eventually eliminated in a vote at the NFL Annual Meeting following the 2013 season, as it had by then caused mayhem in far more games than just the AFC Divisional showdown in the snow between the Patriots and the Raiders. It was a controversial rule that most agreed no longer fit the context of the the much higher-powered offenses of today's NFL, but it had already earned its very large place in the annals of NFL history.
That made it all the more awkward and perhaps even poetic when the stars aligned for this magical occurrence:
Just to remind everyone, Rich Gannon was the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders team that lost that 2002 AFC Divisional game to the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady-led Patriots, and Walt Coleman was the official that made the controversial call.
Obviously the call that Belichick challenged wasn't the Tuck Rule, as that is no longer an actual rule. But it was a call that would have definitely fallen under the category of a forward pass according to the now defunct Tuck Rule. Take a look for yourself:
Belichick challenged the ruling on the field of a fumble, believing Bortles to have made a complete enough passing motion for it to be considered a forward pass. Walt Coleman unsurprisingly upheld his ruling on the field that it was a Bortles fumble recovered by the Jaguars.
Had this play happened while the tuck rule was in effect, it would have definitely been called an incomplete pass. Under the tuck rule, all that was required of the quarterback to avoid a fumble was that they're passing arm be in the process of a forward passing motion; no matter how slightly it may have moved forward.
"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."
It's worth noting that former NFL official Mike Carey, who now works for CBS as probably the most respected source for commentary on in-game officiating, stated that he understood Coleman's decision but that he would have reversed the call, as he believed it to be an incomplete pass.
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