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'Tuck Rule' eliminated by wide margin at NFL Annual Meeting

It won't erase the past for the Oakland Raiders, but the NFL has voted to eliminate the "Tuck Rule."

A source told Ian Rapoport on Wednesday that the elimination of the "Tuck Rule" passed overwhelmingly at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

The rule's elimination makes it so a quarterback loses possession when he fumbles while trying to bring the ball back to his body after opting not to throw. If the passer loses control while the ball is going forward, it's still incomplete. If he loses the ball while tucking, it's a fumble.

A total of 29 NFL teams voted in favor of rescinding the "Tuck Rule," according to Rapoport. The Pittsburgh Steelers voted against the "Tuck Rule" change while the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins abstained from voting.

The rule is probably best known for playing a controversial role in the Patriots' playoff win over the Raiders in 2002. During the game, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appeared to have lost the ball on a fumble, but the late fourth-quarter play was ruled an incomplete pass. The Patriots went on to win in overtime.

NFL owners also passed a rule that would ban players from leading with the crown of their helmets outside the tackle box. The rule passed by a wide margin, 31-1, Rapoport reported.

In addition, the rule regarding the illegal throwing of the challenge flag on automatically reviewable plays -- also known as the Jim Schwartz rule -- has been changed.

Moving forward, the play still would be reviewed no matter what. Any coach who illegally challenges a play would be charged a timeout. He wouldn't get the timeout back even if he wins the challenge. If the team is out of timeouts, it would be charged a 15-yard penalty.

Under the previous incarnation of the rule, a team which challenged an automatically reviewable play would receive an unsportmanlike-conduct penalty for delay of game, which would prevent the play from being reviewed by the replay official.

Schwartz, the coach of the Detroit Lions, fell afoul of the rule during his team's Thanksgiving Day loss to the Houston Texans.

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