Today is the 10th anniversary of the Tuck Rule Game — the screwy AFC playoff game that catalyzed the New England dynasty and turned the Patriots into the insufferable cheaters that they are today.A decade later, the game is still as baffling as it was on that snowy night in Foxborough, when the ball squirted out of Tom Brady’s grip and seemingly brought New England’s miracle season to an end. Only to have it revived in the form of a little-known, nonsensical rule.
Here’s a brief recap of how it went down: The Pats were losing to the Raiders 13-10 with less than two minutes left when Tom Brady was sacked and fumbled. But somehow the fumble wasn’t a fumble. It was an incomplete pass because Brady hadn’t fully tucked the ball back into his body after pump faking.
The Pats drove down the field, tied the game, and won it 16-13 in overtime.
Two weeks later, the underdog Patriots beat the Greatest Show On Turf in the Super Bowl, and today, 10 years later, they’re the odds-on favourite to win it all.
It could have been different for Tom Brady.
The unheralded sixth-round pick could have lost to the Raiders in Foxborough Stadium 10 years ago. He could have spent the next year locked in a quarterback controversy with the legendary Drew Bledsoe. He could have, after years of uncertainty, left Boston to prove himself elsewhere.
And what the New England Patriots have since morphed into — a dominant, dispassionate dynasty — could have never formed.
But instead the Patriots won their first Super Bowl of the ’00s, rickety old Foxborough Stadium was torn down in lieu of glitzy new Gillette Stadium, and Brady became a model-dating Hall of Famer that any self-respecting non-Patriots fan despises.
We originally said it was the AFC Championship game. It was actually a divisional round game. Apologies.
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