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#pounditMonday, November 29, 2021

Ray Lewis: We only know who Tom Brady is because of tuck rule

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We all know the tuck rule was a horrible rule that the New England Patriots benefitted greatly from, but people take it a little too far when they pretend the Patriots would be erased from NFL history if not for the controversial call back in 2002. Ray Lewis is one of those people.

During a chat with Stephen A. Smith on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio Tuesday, Lewis was asked about the controversial call that took a catch away from Dez Bryant and may have ended the Dallas Cowboys’ season. That led him to the tuck rule, and Lewis did not hold back.

“When we — the first time we created something called a tuck rule, it’s the only reason we know — I’m just being honest — the only reason we know who Tom Brady is, because of a tuck rule,” Lewis said, as transcribed by Michael Hurley of CBS Boston. “There’s no such thing as a tuck rule! If the ball is in your hand, and I knock it out your hand, whether it’s going backwards, forwards, lateral, sideways, however it’s coming out, that’s a freaking fumble!

“But guess what we created? We created a freaking tuck rule!”

That seems a bit dramatic. Would the Patriots have won the Super Bowl in 2002 without the tuck rule? No. Would they have ever won a championship without it? We’ll never know. Would Brady be a nobody if that call didn’t go his way? Come on, man.

Smith asked Lewis to clarify his stance.

“They don’t go to that championship game — they don’t go to that championship game if that tuck rule, if that ball is not called a tuck! That’s a fumble!” Lewis said enthusiastically. “Charles Woodson made that man clearly fumble the ball and they named it the tuck rule, something that we’ve never heard in today’s game. So now you’ve got to ask yourself: When did the legacy really start?”

Sure, that’s where it started. But there’s no guarantee it couldn’t have started later. Brady has won three Super Bowls, been named a Pro Bowler 10 times and won the NFL MVP award twice. On Sunday, he’ll play in his ninth conference championship. Brady is one of the hardest-working players in the game, so is Lewis saying that work ethic would have just disappeared and Brady would have packed it in without the tuck rule?

It’s hardly that simple. Which reminds me, wasn’t it Lewis who said the game of football is “simple” to Brady when he introduced him as NFL.com’s No. 1 player a few years back? I believe Lewis referred to Brady as “the greatest of all the greats.”

I guess Brady owes every bit of that to the tuck rule. Perhaps Lewis has spent a bit too much time talking to this big mouth over the past week.

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