Around the League

Presented By

Where are they now? 10 years after the 'Tuck Rule' game

Editor's note: Thursday marks the 10-year anniversary of the Raiders-Patriots AFC Divisonal Playoff known as "Tuck Rule" game, so it's the perfect time to revisit Around the League's look back at the infamous play.

This season marks the 10th anniversary of the famous "Tuck Rule" game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. With the Patriots heading to the Black Hole to meet the Raiders on Sunday, let's take a look at where the principals of that infamous play are now.

Charles Woodson: The Raiders held a 13-10 lead with less than two minutes to go in the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game when Woodson came clean on a blitz and separated Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from the ball. Woodson, a brash fourth-year cornerback, believed he had just delivered the play that would send his team to the AFC title game and, at least initially, game officials agreed. The call was reversed via replay, however, taking with it Woodson's hero status.

"He pumped the ball, brought it back down. Maybe he wanted to bring it back up. Ball came out, game over," Woodson said that night. "It kind of took the air out of a lot of guys. We knew the game was over. We were celebrating."

Woodson, now 34, spent four more seasons in Oakland before the team cut him prior to the 2006 season. He signed with the Green Bay Packers and rejuvenated his career, finally winning that elusive Super Bowl ring in February.

Tom Brady: Playing in his first postseason game, Brady appeared to literally cough up New England's opportunity to advance to its first AFC Championship Game since 1996. The little-known "Tuck Rule" marked the first of many memorable moments in the quarterback's career.

"I knew I was throwing the ball," Brady said afterward. "I was trying to get rid of the ball. I'm glad they ruled it the way they did."

Brady and the Patriots made the most of their second life, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week, then shocking the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady's legend is massive now, and no recounting of history is complete without this game.

Walt Coleman: He was the referee tasked with going under the hood when replay official Rex Stuart ordered a video review of Brady's fumble. Coleman's decision to rule the play an incomplete pass thrilled the crowd at Foxborough Stadium, which believed moments earlier the Patriots' season was done.

"When I got over to the replay monitor and looked at it, it was obvious that his arm was coming forward," Coleman said. "He was trying to tuck the ball and they just knocked it out of his hand."

Quite predictably, Coleman's decision was met with anger from the Raiders and their fan base. Coleman continues in his role with the NFL, but he has never worked another game involving the Silver and Black.

Photo essay

Adam Vinatieri: Coleman's ruling would be a mere footnote if not for the heroics of Vinatieri, then in his sixth season with the Patriots.

New England retained the ball with 1:43 left in regulation, and Vinatieri kicked a line-drive, 45-yard field goal through the snowflakes and the uprights to tie the score with 27 seconds left. It was the unlikeliest of kicks, given the game-time temperature of 25 degrees and three inches of snow coating the end zones.

"I kind of line-drived it, but when I looked up, I knew it was going to be straight enough," Vinatieri said. "I had to wait to see if it would be long enough. It was time to be happy after that."

Vinatieri, who later won the game in overtime with a 23-yarder, again played hero two weeks later with a 48-yard field goal to clinch New England's first Super Bowl title. He claimed a second championship for the Patriots with a game-winning kick against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Vinatieri, now with the Indianapolis Colts, generally is considered the greatest clutch kicker in NFL history, and it all started on Jan. 19, 2002.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.