The NFL owners voted Wednesday to eliminate the Tuck Rule at their meetings in Arizona. With that rule now eliminated, quarterbacks who lose control of the ball while trying to pump fake and bring it back into their chest will be deemed to have fumbled.
This change of course won\’t help the 2001 Oakland Raiders, who lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs in 2002. The Tuck Rule was born as a result of the controversial play in that game that included Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fumbling the football while pulling it ball back to avoid a hit by Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson. The play was eventually reviewed and ruled an incomplete pass and the Patriots would go on to tie the game on that drive, and eventually win it. they also went on to become Super Bowl champions that year in addition.
Believe or not, the Steelers were reportedly the only team to vote against eliminating the Tuck Rule. Why? Perhaps it is because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes to use a pump fake quite a bit himself. Perhaps it is because he likes to extend plays so much.
The interpretation of the Tuck Rule, however, certainly didn\’t help the Steelers last year in their win over the New York Giants. On the play in question from that game, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora hit Roethlisberger\’s arm as it was coming forward, but did not knock the ball out. The ball came out as Roethlisberger was trying to bring it back in and it looked like an easy open-and-shut case. The play, however, was ruled a fumble on the field and resulted in Giants linebacker Michael Boley returning the loose ball for a touchdown.
Another interesting note from the Wednesday? The Patriots were one of two teams that abstained from voting on the rule change. Perhaps Patriots owner Robert Kraft did that out of respect. Whatever the reason was for abstaining, Al Davis is still not comforted.