Tom Brady will play in the ninth AFC Championship Game of his career on Sunday. According to Ray Lewis, he has a now-stricken bylaw in the NFL rulebook to thank for his vast success.
"When we -- the first time we created something called a tuck rule, it's the only reason we know -- I'm just being honest -- the only reason we know who Tom Brady is, because of a tuck rule," Lewis said. "There's no such thing as a tuck rule! If the ball is in your hand, and I knock it out your hand, whether it's going backwards, forwards, lateral, sideways, however it's coming out, that's a freaking fumble."
"But guess what we created? We created a freaking tuck rule!"
The tuck rule was established in 1999, three years before Charles Woodson separated Brady from the ball at old Foxboro Stadium. The NFL excised the rule in 2013. Continue, Ray ...
"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!" he said. "Charles Woodson made that man clearly fumble the ball and they named it the tuck rule, something that we've never heard in today's game. So now you've got to ask yourself: When did the legacy really start?"
This was all part of a larger rant by Lewis, who was fired up -- seriously, he's yelling into his phone at one point -- about how rules are hurting the NFL. Sample quote: "There are so many rules to a game that's really very simple!"
If I had to take a shot at Lewis' greater point here, I'd guess he's saying that if the tuck play never happened, it would have set off a butterfly effect that would have greatly minimized Tom Brady in NFL lore. No rings, no MVPs, no Gisele.
I don't really know what Ray Lewis is talking about.