Game over, right? Not according to NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. A replay review determined an incomplete pass, enabling the Patriots to not only drive for the tying field goal but win in overtime. Three weeks later, they were Super Bowl champs. This, of course, was all before Brady and Bill Belichick built the greatest resumes of anyone in their respective roles.
But what if the original call stood and the Raiders won? An NFL Network panel considered the potential ripple effects.
Brian Baldinger thinks Belichick and Brady still go on an epic run, noting that the New England coach had already committed to playing Brady over Drew Bledsoe, despite the fact Bledsoe had signed a $100 million deal the previous offseason.
Dave Dameshek believes the early playoff exit would have enabled Bledsoe to get his job back. Where would that leave Brady? As it was, the Pats didn't even make the playoffs the following season with Brady. Without a single playoff win to show for his first three seasons, perhaps Belichick is run out of New England, which had recently parted ways with Pete Carroll after posting similar results. Daniel Jeremiah then lays out a path that pairs Belichick with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and forming a different dynasty.
Jeremiah ties it all up by pointing out that if Gruden remains in Oakland, he doesn't join the "Monday Night Football" booth, eventually opening the door for ... Kurt Warner.