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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Tom Brady offers surprising comment about infamous Tuck Rule play

Tom Brady after a game

Tom Brady offered a pretty surprising comment about his infamous “Tuck Rule” play.

ESPN on Sunday released a new installation of their “30 for 30” series that examined the infamous play from the 2001 NFL season. Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000 and spent his rookie season working as Drew Bledsoe’s backup. He was the backup entering the 2001 season until Bledsoe got hurt.

Brady went 11-3 as the starter and then led his team to a Super Bowl win. But their path was not so easy.

In their Divisional Round playoff game, the Pats narrowly beat the Raiders 16-13 on a 23-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri in overtime. They were down 13-10 and had the ball with under two minutes to go. Tom Brady appeared to fumble a ball as Charles Woodson came in and stripped him. But the replay review switched the call from a fumble to incomplete pass due to the tuck rule.

Had the original call stood, the Raiders would have had the ball and the game would have been effectively over. Instead, Brady drove down and Vinatieri made a 45-yard kick to tie the game, sending it to OT where New England won.

What’s crazy is that despite going 11-3 as the starter, Brady thinks the ruling on that play was the difference for his career. Had the call not gone his way, Brady thinks he wouldn’t have retained the starting job.

“I’m probably the backup QB going into 2002,” Brady said in the ESPN documentary. “I’m not the starter if we lose that game.”

That’s quite a claim by Brady, but it’s hard to agree with him on that point. Brady had become the Patriots’ QB by then. There was no turning back. Even if they lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Brady still would have been the starter. But Brady’s legacy would have been a lot different had he not captured that first Super Bowl in the 2001 season.

Photo: Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

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