NFL History: Where do Patriots Rank in Greatest Moments?

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14. Tom Brady’s Legacy is Born with Tuck Rule

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The most famous play early on in the Patriots’ dynasty was undoubtedly the Tuck Rule play in the AFC championship game prior to their Super Bowl victory over the Rams.

Late in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots trailed 13-10 and Brady was trying to drive them downfield for a comeback win. Brady dropped back, pump faked and was drilled on his blindside by a blitzing Charles Woodson. Brady lost the ball, Oakland recovered and the game appeared to over.

However, after a lengthy video review, it was determined that Brady’s arm was in fact going forward when the ball left his hand, so the pass was ruled incomplete. That was true. However, it was only going forward because Brady was trying to tuck the ball and take the sack. He was no longer attempting a pass, and it was fairly obvious.

That said, the NFL rule was clear, and there was not anything the officials could do. The Patriots got the ball back, scored a field goal on that possession and won the game in overtime. Two weeks later, they upset the Rams in the Super Bowl to begin their dominance over the NFL.

Tough break for the Raiders.

Here is explanation of the Tuck Rule play coming in at number 14 on the list:

"The New England Patriots are as close to a dynasty as any modern NFL team can claim to be, but an odd series of events almost snuffed it out before their thrilling victory in Super Bowl XXXVI. One little game in the snow spawned four Super Bowl victories and a major rule change.   With under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Raiders, the Patriots were down 13-10 but marching down the field, looking to at least force a tie. Quarterback Tom Brady took the snap and was looking to hit a quick slant route, but after not seeing his first target, pumped  the ball to move to his second. However, he was hit on the blindside during the tuck and appeared to fumble the football. The officials went to the review booth and determined that because Brady was in the midst  moving forward with his arm, despite being in the midst of a tuck, and therefore the call was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. Brady would complete a 13-yard pass to David Patten on the next play, setting up a game-tying field goal from Adam Vinatieri and forcing overtime. New England would win the toss and take the first possession of overtime and put the game away with a 61-yard drive culminating with another Vinatieri field goal. The rest, as they say, is history."

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