After a lengthy conversation with a good friend of mine, I decided to pursue a passion of mine – blogging more consistently about my favorite football team – The New England Patriots. I had created this blog on or around 1/11/2015 and was wondering what my first post should be about. Should I write about why I became a fan or fanatic as my friends had ridiculed me or the “bandwagon” nature of my loyalty, or should I start writing as soon as the 2014 AFC Championship game is over between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Thankfully, Ray Lewis has come to the rescue and coincidentally he has also provided a talking point that correlates with the name of my blog – “The Tuck Rue”.
The Tuck Rule as defined by Wikipedia and in “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.” It was interpreted in 2002 January during the Divisional playoffs against Oakland Raiders as such “It applied if the quarterback moved his arm forward in a passing motion, but then changed his mind and tried to keep hold of the football rather than attempt a pass. In this situation, if the quarterback lost the ball while stopping his passing motion or bringing the ball back to his body, it was still considered a forward pass (and thus an incomplete pass if the ball hit the ground ).” I never really understood why that rule was in the first place especially the language around tucking it back towards the body.
According to Ray Lewis, “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. “Charles Woodson made that man clearly fumble the ball and they named it the tuck rule, something that we have never heard of in today’s game. So now you’ve got to ask yourself: When did the legacy really start?” I completely agree with Ray Lewis. The play in which Tom Brady lost control of the ball as he motioned his arm backward, would be now considered a fumble, since the rule has been abolished by 2013. In fact, on many Patriots press conferences, Brady himself has chuckled at the notion of that play, what he thought it meant, etc. So I agree with Ray Lewis – that Tom Brady’s legacy started with an infamous play, a play where the Patriots got the ball back because the referees made a call that was in favor of the home team. So yes, the play did start Brady’s legacy.
The part where I completely disagree with Ray Lewis, because he was certainly alluding to that in his conversation with Stephen A Smith on First Take is that – Tom Brady would never be the quarterback he is without that play. Circumstances and moments in life define who we are and what we make of ourselves but one cannot for certain state that without “this or that” taking place, we would not be who we are and make our paths towards what we want to make of ourselves. I am not sure whether Bill Belichick would have benched Tom Brady after that play and in the following season. I am not sure and no one can say for certain whether Drew Bledsoe would have been traded away. What we can all say with certainty is this – Tom Brady made most of a situation that was not in his control – he did not make the referee’s call on whether the ball still belonged to the Patriots. For those who would align with the notion that the referees support the “Peytons” the “Rodgers” the “Bradys” – bear in mind that this was 2002, and no one knew about Tom Brady, as the great quarterback he is now perceived. He was a 6th round draft pick at that time who was playing in his first playoff game. John Elway lost many playoff games before he got inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Tom Brady will be playing in his 9th AFC championship game on the 18th of January 2015. He has won 3 Superbowls and 5 AFC Championships along with being one of the two quarterbacks who has ever hit the “50 touchdown” mark in the regular season. Lets also not forget that he was on the 16-0 regular season team (18-1 for my dear Giants fan) and has the most number of playoff wins – ever! His legacy, as much as it might have been started by the infamous play, certainly does not articulate the quarterback he has become, neither will it define his legacy.