NFL.com – While Tom Brady’s legacy is being celebrated this week by fans, media and leaders of the free world alike, there are some who feel like the former sixth-round pick would have remained that way had it not been for a fortuitous call back on January 19, 2002.
Raiders fans know this as the Tuck Rule game. …
“I tell people all the time, if Tom Brady would just start out every interview saying ‘I wanna thank the Oakland Raiders,’ I’d be happy and I’d let it go,” legendary wide receiver Tim Brown said on Good Morning Football on Wednesday. “But until that day happens, I’m not gonna let it go. Because think about this — if he loses that game, he’s a kid who lost a home game to a West Coast team in the snow. So he’s not starting the next year. Because we were the Raiders, any other team, that game is over. Because it was the Raiders, it took them 12 minutes to come up with an answer.”
Obsess much, Tim Brown? You’d think guy with a Hall of Fame jacket, a Heisman and nine Pro Bowls would’ve found a way by now to move on after 15 years. But you’d be overestimating him I guess.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but let me start with a brief history lesson. First, the Tuck Rule was real. It was a thing. This myth that the Raiders made up on the spot and have spent a decade and a half repeating that it had never been called before or since is a total fabrication. Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2 had not only been enforced before, it actually went against the Patriots earlier in the season, in a September game against the Jets when Vinny Testaverde put the ball on the ground. To be fair, that particular play has kind of faded into history, since the game more remembered as The One After 9/11 and The Time Drew Bledsoe Got Vivisected by Mo Lewis and Changed the World. But that doesn’t make it any less a reality.
Second, the officials got it right. Someday in the distant future, the Internet will become self aware and launch an all out thermonuclear war to wipe out the human race, and among the survivors will be Raider fans crawling out the ashes and complaining that Walt Coleman screwed them back in 2002. But he got it right. As a matter of fact, as soon as he went under the hood and watched the first loop of the replay, he allegedly said “Oh shit,” because he realized the initial call was wrong.
Frankly, I wish the Raiders got screwed. I really do. As I’ve said before, when I was a kid the Patriots got so badly sodomized by the Ray Hamilton Roughing the Passer call in the Wild Card round that if I was Batman, that game would be my parents getting killed in an alley. It’s what made me the dark, brooding, vigilante loner that I am. But the Tuck Rule didn’t even that score because it was the correct call. And as far as I’m concerned the universe still owes us one.
Lastly, Ray Lewis has spouted this same line of pure bullshit Tim Brown did. That without that call, Brady never becomes Brady. So I imagine the world is lousy with retired NFL players who think the same way. Well at the risk of letting facts get in the way of their good story, here’s a great bar bet for you. Ask someone to guess how many yards Brady put up in that blizzard. As a 24-year-old, first year starter, supposedly “Caretaker Quarterback” in his first playoff game. Typically people will guess somewhere between 100-150 yards. The answer is 312. Playing on an ice rink against Tim Brown’s precious defense. That man was never going to see the bench ever again. The Raiders had every opportunity in the world to stop him and couldn’t. And still they wander the Earth like dead men walking, whining about the officials and convincing themselves the GOAT would have spent the last 15 years on the bench holding a Microsoft Surface.
It would be sad or even tragic if it weren’t for the fact sweet tears of unfathomable sadness weren’t so yummy.