The 11-year-old wrong that sickened Al Davis, stung Jon Gruden and still sits like buckshot in the belly of Raiders fans may get righted after all.
The NFL competition committee on Thursday proposed altering the Tuck Rule — the most demoralizing and detested officiating call in Raiders history — to make it a fumble instead of an incomplete pass.
Asked for a response to the proposal, a text message from current Raiders managing partner Mark Davis summed up feelings of many: ``Yay?''
It was a laughably bad call, unless your allegiance was with the Silver-and-Black, in which case it simply was infuriating.
Under current rule, as it is considered an incomplete pass anytime a quarterback
After being clobbered by blitzing Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson, Brady lost the football, which was recovered by linebacker Greg Biekert with 1:43 left to play. Officials initially ruled a fumble, which likely would have secured a 13-10 win for the Raiders.
But upon reviewing the play, referee Walt Coleman ruled that it was an incomplete pass, based on the tuck rule as defined by NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. The ball went back
``It was the worst loss I'd ever experienced,'' Raiders fullback Jon Ritchie told ESPN — 10 years after that snowy night in New England.
Despite the Raiders assuming they had possession and Brady assuming he had fumbled and reaction of Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi — ``I thought it was over'' — the play stood. And, more than any other moment, it altered the trajectory of the two franchises.
It ignited New England's rise to prominence under Bill Belichick and, moreover, it cranked up the tension between Davis and his coach, Jon Gruden. Davis a few weeks later traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There have since been numerous other plays which have questioned the logic and credibility of the Tuck Rule, prompting a stream of calls to overturn it — including a famous December 2012 tweet from former director of officials Mike Pereira: ``Three tuck rule reversals already. Reverse the rule.''
NFL owners are expected to vote on the measure this weekend at their annual meeting in Phoenix. Eleven years too late and more than 17 months after his death, Al Davis may be getting a bit of an apology.