New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders have a long, fun history

19 Jan 2002: Jermaine Wiggins
19 Jan 2002: Jermaine Wiggins /
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January 19, 2002: Patriots 16, Raiders 13 OT

This is the game you’ve been waiting for. This is the game that got the New England Patriots dynasty started. A young Tom Brady earned his first career playoff win, and the rest is history.

In a blanket of snow, this game was a lot of fun. The first quarter was scoreless, but Rich Gannon got the Raiders on the board with a 13-yard pass to James Jett in the second quarter. That’s where the score remained at halftime.

Seabass added a pair of field goals for the Raiders in the third quarter, and Adam Vinatieri made one to draw the score to 13-3 Oakland heading into the fourth. Things got crazy in the final quarter.

New England was led down the field by Tom Brady and with just under 8 minutes to play in the game, he ran the ball in for a 6-yard score. New England was still down 3, but they got the ball back and had a chance. Late in the quarter, we got the ‘Tuck Play’. With just 1:50 left to play in the game, Brady dropped back to pass. He did not have a single open receiver. While pumping the ball, he was hit by Raiders cornerback, and former Michigan Wolverines teammate, Charles Woodson. On the play, the referees ruled a fumble, as it appeared Brady had pulled the ball back in. The play went under review at that point.

After review, Walt Coleman reversed the call. He cited what has now become known as the tuck rule. At the time, this is what that rule was.

"NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. 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. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble."

The play was ruled as an incomplete pass, and the Patriots retained possession of the ball. In 2012, Coleman revealed that since he did not clearly see the play initially, he ruled the play a fumble so that he could review it. He said it was an “easy call” once he saw the replay. In 2013, the rule was abolished in a 29-1 vote. Pittsburgh was the only team to vote to keep the tuck rule, while New England and Washington both abstained.

A few plays later, Adam Vinatieri came in to attempt a game-tying 45-yard field goal in the snow. Of course, he made the kick. It is one of the greatest plays in NFL and Patriots history. The game went to overtime and New England won the coin toss.

The Patriots chose to receive and they drove down the field. On a 4th and 4 from the Oakland 28, Brady hit David Patten for a first down. A few plays later, Brady ran a keeper to center the ball at the Raiders 5-yard line. Vinatieri then took the field once again. Vinatieri and holder Ken Walter began to clear the snow from where the hold would be. Raiders coach Jon Gruden called a timeout to attempt to ice the kicker, but it just gave the Patriots more time to clear the snow. Vinatieri then nailed the game0winning kick to send the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game.

FOXBORO – JANUARY 19: Bobby Hamilton
FOXBORO – JANUARY 19: Bobby Hamilton /

New England, with help from now backup Drew Bledsoe, beat the Pittsburgh Steelers the next week to earn their spot in the Super Bowl. Adam Vinatieri won the Super Bowl with a kickoff as well, and the Patriots dynasty was born.