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Tuck rule strikes again, in reverse

Brady

After any close game, there are moments to which either side can point as affecting the ultimate outcome.  But whenever the tuck rule rears its head, Putin-style, in any contest of consequence, it stands out.

On Saturday night, the tuck rule was applied in a much different way than it was 11 years ago, under circumstances that made its impact on the final score far more remote.  But the apparent ignorance of the clear provisions of the rule, both in real time and on replay review, was stunning.

It came in the third quarter, with the Broncos leading the Ravens, 28-21.  Quarterback Peyton Manning cocked his arm to throw, and Ravens defensive end Pernell McPhee hit Manning just below the elbow just after Manning began his throwing motion.

The ball clearly started to come out, with Manning trying — in vain — to maintain possession as his arm and the ball went forward.  But while super-slow-motion review suggests that at one point Manning had two hands on the ball, Peyton never was able to secure it.  The ball ended up on the ground, Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger recovered, the replay process upheld the ruling, and the Ravens tied the game five plays later.

Again, the blunder came early enough in the game to make the consequence not as clear or dramatic as it was when the Patriots retained possession against the Raiders in the 2001 playoffs — and the Pats ultimately went on to win the game and their first of three Super Bowl trophies.  But the ruling of a fumble in the latest case seemed to disregard completely the tuck rule.

Referee Bill Vidovich was not made available after the game to explain the decision made both in real time and on replay review.  The league has provided no insight other than a citation to the rule.

According to Rule 8, Article 1, Section 1(b):  “If, after an intentional forward movement of his hand, the passer loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body, it is a forward pass.  If the player loses possession after he has tucked the ball into his body, it is a fumble.”

Not cited by the league was Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2, which emphasizes that “any intentional forward movement of his hand starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body.”

Manning’s arm was moving forward when the ball started to come out.  The tuck rule doesn’t apply because the ball was out before Manning tucked the ball back into his body.

It’s a far easier and more logical application of the rule than 11 years ago, because Manning didn’t lose the ball after his arm had finished moving forward but before he had “tucked” the ball (like Tom Brady).  Instead, the ball was clearly coming out after Manning’s arm started to move forward, and he never possessed it again.

And so, once again, the Patriots benefit from the tuck rule.  Instead of having to go to Denver for the AFC title game, they get to host it.

While that may not benefit the Pats strategically, it definitely helps the team tuck some more cash into the coffers via another home game.

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56 Responses to “Tuck rule strikes again, in reverse”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Jan 14, 2013 10:02 AM

    The Broncos-Ravens game was completely over-officiated. Way too much facetime for the zebras.

  2. dikshuttle says: Jan 14, 2013 10:06 AM

    Looked to me like he got it back at the bottom & then it got smacked out by a helmet.

    Would love to hear the officials’ take.

  3. all4patriots says: Jan 14, 2013 10:06 AM

    I think you’re right and it should have been called an incomplete pass.

    It occurred on 3rd down, so a correct ruling of an incomplete pass would have forced a punt, Ravens ball, but with on average 40 yards worse field position (or one more pass over Champ Bailey’s head!)

    Thus the Denver possession was over in any event.

    It was a tough break, but hardly a clear and direct cause of the loss.

  4. tdk24 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:08 AM

    Brady never felt the pressure from Woodson, he had no need to “tuck” the ball. It was a normal pump fake in which he got popped and the ball came out. That is what we call a fumble.

  5. csilojohnson says: Jan 14, 2013 10:08 AM

    The tuck rule was and always will be a joke. The enforcement since it’s inception has been nothing short of inconsistent. Yet another BS rule in the book of uncommon sense.

  6. FinFan68 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:13 AM

    Mic the refs and subject them to post-game Q&A. There needs to be some insight to their conferences/decisions and some accountability for their actions. There have been several times this year (and others) where the review is crystal clear and the call is counter to the video evidence. I’ve seen calls get overturned when there is no evidence the call was wrong and I’ve seen calls stand when there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary. We have all seen this. Bogus or situational application of the rules takes away from the integrity of the game far more than any of the issues where that phrase has been used as justification. Mic the officials and fix the review process.

  7. sdakota says: Jan 14, 2013 10:27 AM

    he had the ball against his body, then it came out, did u listen to their explanation after the play or are u one those Manning worshippers making excuses for him?

  8. salutethis says: Jan 14, 2013 10:29 AM

    Not one of those calls that was a judgment call went against Baltimore. I mean even the call against the great Ray Lewis almost didn’t get made. Nobody wanted to call the penalty. There were alot of reasons Denver lost this game. But the refs gave a team 14 points in a game that turned put to be decided by a field goal, that’s just not excusable.

  9. riverhorsey says: Jan 14, 2013 10:30 AM

    at least make the officials available to the press just like the players and coaches.

    Joe Flacco and the bomb probably still win but I thought the tuck rule was clearly not enforced.

  10. kcbaby58 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:34 AM

    It’s the playoffs!!! They are going to go with the ruling on the field!! All of those calls were to close no evidence to overturn.

  11. isphet71 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:35 AM

    If these rules interpretations aren’t based on calling plays consistently; then what are they based on? I can see why there are so many conspiracy theorists out there.

  12. salutethis says: Jan 14, 2013 10:36 AM

    As for the tuck rule I hope they get rid of it, or at least improve it. The rule is not called consistently and is highly debated every time it is and is not called. Get rid of it. Its already known as the Brady rule. Just end it.

  13. edgarpoe3 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:37 AM

    I do believe the Ravens did not get possession on that “turnover”, as they were flagged with two penalties. The ruling only accounted for the spot of the ball. The Broncos were forced to punt later either way.

  14. opneon says: Jan 14, 2013 10:40 AM

    There were many “controversial” calls going both ways on Saturday’s Ravens-Broncos game.

    The only way to avoid THAT is NOT to throw flags on every play with some slight, objective flaw.

    These refs were defintiely over-officious and should be told to cool it and let them play football. The last thing we want is for a playoff game to be won, or lost, by a questionable call rather than what really happened on the field!

  15. truthfactory says: Jan 14, 2013 10:41 AM

    There was about 10 things that happened in this game that could have resulted in a different outcome but they all seemed to go Baltimores way. Congrats to them. They got it done against all odds

  16. leksington says: Jan 14, 2013 10:42 AM

    Maning completed his tuck, and then lost it afterwards. Correctly called.

  17. citizenstrange says: Jan 14, 2013 10:42 AM

    Two rule suggestions and questions.

    1) In the name of player safety the last split second kicker “freeze” should be eliminated. To make the players go through an extra violent collision for a play that is completely worthless and meaningless is insane. Refs should give a signal sometime before the snap after which point no time outs will be allowed.

    2) In what world is J.J. Watt’s finger pointing and wagging NOT considered taunting? How does he get away with it? It should be flagged every time.

  18. raidernation210 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:45 AM

    Amazing how one play changed two franchises…..

    For the Raiders, which was one of the most winningest franchises in any sport. It made Al Davis trade John Gruden to Tampa Bay in which he than beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl. The Raiders have had a continual down spiral since with awful draft picks and even more awful free agent signings.

    For the Patriot’s, it took a team with little or no fan base and was practically a joke in the NFL and turned them into 3x Super Bowl winners and 5x Super Bowl apperances.

    It’s a shame to think what New England may be if they weren’t given that gift or never cheated. That’s why I have no respect for them. And it’s not jealousy, it’s the fact that they won’t admit it. when everbody else outside of new england realizes it.

  19. unionsblow1 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:47 AM

    is it just me, or does it seem like the NFL has tied itself in knots here lately over multiple judgement calls…the ridiculous “tuck rule”….what is and is not called “pass interference”…what is and is not a reception when the reciever is going to the ground…and they still get it wrong even WITH instant replay review…part of me wants to just go back to when whatever the official calls stands, no replay…it getting ridiculous…

  20. jasndc75 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:48 AM

    I agree with dikshuttle above, Manning still had enough of it to start to bring it back up, and I think that’s what the ref saw on the replay that caused him to still rule it a fumble. It didnt look like it hit something to bring it back up, only Mannings hand was touching it, so I think it was correct.

  21. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:56 AM

    In a game the Pats weren’t playing in and had nothing to do with you still try and make it sound like they had something to do with the call in some nefarious way.

    Hey raidernation how many threads have you been crying about this in lately about 30 ?

    Lets say for a minute you’re right and that is was a bad call. Bad calls happen all the time and happen to both teams in every game. Great teams overcome them, poor ones don’t.

    The Pats had a clear fumble by the Texans yesterday overturned by a horrid call. They overcame it and won.

    The Raiders supposedly great defense couldn’t stop the Pats driving and scoring twice after the tuck rule was applied. They choked plain and simple when they still could have easily won.

    Its 13 years later, maybe you should consider moving on with your life instead of crying about 1 bad call for the rest of your life.

  22. edgarallan926 says: Jan 14, 2013 11:05 AM

    I trust Mike Pereira’s take on officiating more than yours and he said that this was correctly interpreted. What do you base your analysis on?? Being paid to write a blog??

  23. salutethis says: Jan 14, 2013 11:09 AM

    I agree, completely. And this is coming from a Bronco fan. I don’t want Any team to win a game unearned. Even if it is my favorite team. That rule has changed the gave of those 2 franchises completely. We still haven’t seen the effects of that game on those 2 teams wain. Out reminds me of the immaculate deception.

  24. dienavinjohnson says: Jan 14, 2013 11:14 AM

    I love the Raiders’ fans whining about this a decade later. If I recall correctly, and I do, the Raiders went to the Super Bowl the next year-and lost. So there didn’t seem to be any immediate hangover.

    Al Davis traded Gruden because he was too cheap to pay his head coach market value because Al Davis always thought he was the real coach of the team. They got 2 1sts, 2 2nds and 8 million bucks from Tampa for Gruden. Besides getting Philip Buchanon they wasted all of the picks.

    If Raiders fans want to continue to whine about the tuck rule, why don’t they google “Sugar Bear Hamilton roughing the passer?” In 1976 the Patriots were a juggernaut. They were beating the Raiders in the playoffs, (after destroying them, the Dolphins, and the Steelers in the regular season), and Ben Dreith called a phantom penalty on the play that would have sealed the game for the Pats. Stabler took the second chance and drove them to a TD to win the game and they eventually went on to win the SB.

    The Pats became laughing stocks for 2 decades while the Raiders thrived. The way I see it, the Raiders have another decade of sucking before we’re even.

  25. imeanwhatisay says: Jan 14, 2013 11:19 AM

    I need every one to stop looking for excuses for the Broncos.The Broncos was holding every play even on the play that manning thru the pic but the refs wasn’t calling them.I think they was letting them play as much as possible without trying to flag everything. u can see as the gm went on manning arm was not strong and I watch the gm 3times already.by the way the Ravens will beat brady too

  26. abefroman00 says: Jan 14, 2013 11:22 AM

    The ball was stripped after Manning brought it back down to his body. It was the right call. Watch the tape before writing an asinine article.

  27. riseabovecancer says: Jan 14, 2013 11:24 AM

    I would have to Disagree…As you can watch it again and again. You can can that Peyton Manning arm was going forward…But there was no tuck.

  28. skinsfaninnebraska says: Jan 14, 2013 11:28 AM

    Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t still have the replacement refs for this postseason, or there might have been games negatively affected by poor officiating.

    What? Oh. Wait a minute…. Never mind.

  29. shutupbrees says: Jan 14, 2013 11:41 AM

    Lawyer-speak is ruining football. We need an attorney, or Mike Piera to tells us what’s a catch and what’s a fumble according to weird by-laws in section 384-C of the rule-book.

    A fumble is a fumble. A catch is a catch. Every time a ref blows it badly, the league adds in new verbage to defend the atrocious call by the ref, further clouding the game in perpituity.

  30. joetoronto says: Jan 14, 2013 11:44 AM

    The snow job in NE was the single worst call in the history of professional sports.

    dienavinjohnson: I love how you put down Raider fans for still talking about it a decade later, but then reference a play from 1976, almost 4 decades ago.

    SMH.

  31. russel5 says: Jan 14, 2013 11:45 AM

    The tuck rule is dumb and should be eliminated whether you agree with the ruling on Saturday or not.

    However, Bill Vidovich is the owner of a siding company in Portland, Oregon. Bill Vinovich is a part time referee who probably shouldn’t have been working a playoff game.

  32. jdfrox says: Jan 14, 2013 11:48 AM

    If you want to cite the rule, cite the part that says that once the player tucks the ball, it no longer applies. The ball was tipped while he was trying to tuck. He got it all the way back to his body so the tuck rule no longer applies. The 2nd hit is what knocked the ball out and it was the correct application of the rule. At least that is what the former head of NFL Officiating Mike Pereira said during and after the game. http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/referees-do-well-during-icy-game-between-baltimore-ravens-denver-broncos-011213 Sorry, but I trust Mike P more than Mike F on rules interpretations. If you are not following this guy on twitter during the games, you are doing yourself a disservive.

  33. j0esixpack says: Jan 14, 2013 11:56 AM

    OK – so the officials clearly – and apparently correctly – determined that Manning was never in the process of “tucking” the ball

    Thus the Tuck Rule was not applied.

    Can someone clarify what the controversy is here?

    The Tuck Rule has been called in countless games before and after the Patriots played the Raiders. The Competition Committee – chaired by Patriots-hater Bill Polian at the time – confirmed that the Tuck Rule was appropriately applied.

    The Competition Committee has chosen to keep the Tuck Rule as is for over 10 years since.

    Where is the controversy? Is it just that Raiders fans cry foul and want to change the rules when it doesn’t benefit them?

  34. tjules21 says: Jan 14, 2013 12:00 PM

    They just need to change the rule entirely, which I believe they are doing at the end of this year. By strict interpretation of the rule, the officials made an error on this call and it should have been an incomplete pass. I can see where one could make the determination that Peyton gained control for a split second before it came out, but I don’t think he ever really had it again.

    Bottom line, the rule should just be eliminated. If the QB’s arm gets hit as it’s moving forward and the ball comes out, it’s incomplete. If the QB’s arm is moving forward but with no intention to throw (tucking the ball away or clearly pump-faking) and the ball comes out, then it needs to be ruled a fumble.

  35. luckyarmpit says: Jan 14, 2013 12:03 PM

    And, yet again, because I speak poorly about The Pats and precious Tom Brady, my comments are deleted. Amazing that other people who post OMGWTFLOL nonsense don’t get moderated.

  36. raidernation210 says: Jan 14, 2013 12:08 PM

    The league also said The packers vs seattle was a good call to. Never seen so many uneducated people on any website than on here. Do you really think Mike Pereira is going to admit a mistake or anybody on the rules commiee is going to admit it. Especially going against the Raiders. Please stop!! Brady ripped his chin strap off in disgust because he knew he had just cost his team the game. Anybody who thinks any different just shows how stupid and uneducated you really are

  37. raidernation210 says: Jan 14, 2013 12:09 PM

    luckyarmpit says:
    Jan 14, 2013 12:03 PM
    And, yet again, because I speak poorly about The Pats and precious Tom Brady, my comments are deleted. Amazing that other people who post OMGWTFLOL nonsense don’t get moderated.

    ————————————————-

    Don’t feel bad mine get deleted all the time, whatever happened to freedom of speech

  38. itsfootballbaby says: Jan 14, 2013 12:11 PM

    I believe the ref did not apply the tuck rule because Manning clearly got two hands on the ball after it came loose, albeit briefly

  39. raidernation210 says: Jan 14, 2013 12:15 PM

    If Raiders fans want to continue to whine about the tuck rule, why don’t they google “Sugar Bear Hamilton roughing the passer?” In 1976 the Patriots were a juggernaut. They were beating the Raiders in the playoffs, (after destroying them, the Dolphins, and the Steelers in the regular season), and Ben Dreith called a phantom penalty on the play that would have sealed the game for the Pats. Stabler took the second chance and drove them to a TD to win the game and they eventually went on to win the SB.

    ————————————————-

    it was a roughing the passer call which was a good call, get a clue and learn about football than comment

  40. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Jan 14, 2013 12:16 PM

    Manning secured the ball when his other hand cusped the ball. Correct call. End of story!

  41. raidernation210 says: Jan 14, 2013 12:18 PM

    and when were the Patriot’s ever a juggernaut before the tuck rule or spygate??? hahahaha!! I swear these front running patriot fans are about as clueless as you get

  42. descendency says: Jan 14, 2013 12:37 PM

    “If the player loses possession after he has tucked the ball into his body, it is a fumble.”

    If you watch the replay carefully, at the very end Peyton Manning manages to pin the ball against himself and it stops moving (the tuck was over at this point). Mr McPhee then knocks it loose. It was a fumble.

  43. spfripp says: Jan 14, 2013 1:01 PM

    Personally, I hate this rule. If it is obvious that a QB is bringing the ball back to his body that means he no longer has the intention to pass the ball. So how can you call that an attempted pass? By rule that probably should have been called an incomplete but I just don’t see how the NFL could call it one.

  44. classyjacklambert says: Jan 14, 2013 1:13 PM

    The only thing that appears to be certain about the tuck rule is that all raiders fans hate it.

  45. gabrosin says: Jan 14, 2013 1:48 PM

    While Manning’s arm was contacted while moving forward, this did not cause him to lose control of the ball. If it had, physics dictates that at the end of his arm’s throwing motion, the ball would have come out immediately and headed straight to the ground. Instead, when his arm’s momentum stops, the ball’s progress stops too: the ball is stationary at his waist level for about half a second, and then his arm was hit again, which is what actually knocks the ball free. Fumble, and correct call. Both Vidovich and Pereira, actual current/former officials, came to this same conclusion.

    There were some questionable calls in this game against both teams, penalties that were shakily enforced and awarded first downs on generous spots of the football. It was not a banner day for the officials. But this call wasn’t a mistake.

  46. nesuperfan says: Jan 14, 2013 2:55 PM

    dikshuttle says:Jan 14, 2013 10:06 AM

    Looked to me like he got it back at the bottom & then it got smacked out by a helmet.
    **********************************************

    That is my take too, but we all got to see it in slow motion. The real issue is that it was called a fumble on the field, and to overrule that, they needed CONCLUSIVE evidence to overturn it. So even if you don’t agree that he had control again, and then lost it, and it really was in the process of the tuck, can anyone really say conclusively? I can’t.

  47. cmonelisha says: Jan 14, 2013 3:39 PM

    tuck rule is one of the worst rules ever. raiders got jobbed. league didnt want to admit it so they made up a brady rule..this is one scenerio where the league should say hey listen, refs screwed the raiders we covered it up were sorry cant change it goodnight

  48. richwizl says: Jan 14, 2013 3:40 PM

    Nobody likes the rule, we all agree on that. It was determined that Brady was attempting to tuck the football when it was knocked out, so no fumble. Peyton appeared to have tucked the ball and, then, it was knocked loose – fumble. NFL has problems with consistency, as well. There were two clear helmet to helmet hits on Wes Welker yesterday that were overlooked, but the one committed by the Pats was enforced. We won’t even discuss the fumble recovery by the Pats that was negated by “forward progress”; ya, ok.

  49. psychosteeler says: Jan 14, 2013 5:48 PM

    sorry joesixpack but no one heard of the tuck rule until january 2002 so no,it wasnt called numerous times before that game because it didnt exist.they changed the name on the spot to the brady rule to help the pats because of 9/11.see steelers vs giants 2012 if you want another example of an outside event effecting a football game for no reason.like a hurricane on the jersey shore was a reason to cheat for the giants because they play in east rutheford nj? no.

  50. radrntn says: Jan 14, 2013 5:53 PM

    Manning and Brady BOTH FUMBLED…lets just face it ….a few months following the tragedy of 9/11, there was nothing better for the league, then to make sure the red, white and blue was represented, rather then the silver and black, who clearly won the game with that fumble.

  51. flash1283 says: Jan 14, 2013 8:14 PM

    psychosteeler says:
    Jan 14, 2013 5:48 PM
    sorry joesixpack but no one heard of the tuck rule until january 2002 so no,it wasnt called numerous times before that game because it didnt exist.they changed the name on the spot to the brady rule to help the pats because of 9/11.see steelers vs giants 2012 if you want another example of an outside event effecting a football game for no reason.like a hurricane on the jersey shore was a reason to cheat for the giants because they play in east rutheford nj? no.


    Sorry psychosteeler but it was called in a game earlier that same season. NE vs. NYJ , it was called in favor of the Jets when Testaverde dropped back for a pass and the ball was knocked out as he was bringing it down. So yes it did exist. The media dubbed it the ” tuck rule” after the Patriots game.

  52. jacktheraven says: Jan 14, 2013 9:01 PM

    It looked to me like a tuck, then, Manning lowered the ball, to his waist, then fumbled.

  53. geofferystevens says: Jan 14, 2013 9:14 PM

    Because he owns a Siding Company he should’nt ref a football game. What its a football game. He is smart enough to run a business he can handle the complexities of an NFL game. Not like he was directing a space mission.

  54. ohioraider22 says: Jan 14, 2013 9:56 PM

    Why don’t they just rule it fumble if the qb drops it? If another player puts the ball on the turf it’s a fumble. Commen sense people.

  55. bunkerhillbob says: Jan 14, 2013 11:46 PM

    The Patriots benefitted from a stupid rule enroute to a Championship in 2001 and The Raiders benefitted from an imaginary “hands to the face” call, among other imaginary calls, that gift-wrapped a tainted Championship for them in 1976, so we’re even; except for Raiders Idol, Jack Tatum, ruining the life of Patriots star, Daryl Stingley, with a dirty hit in a preseason game. He paralyzed the guy and never once said any kind words to him after. That’s Raider Class, right there; all low.

  56. patpatriot7 says: Jan 15, 2013 9:01 AM

    Enough, already Raider fans. How long are you planning on using the “tuck rule” to explain the state of the Oakland franchise?

    Let’s look at some facts. What has happened in the 11 years since the “tuck rule” went against the Raiders?

    First, the rule is still on the books (although reports are that it will be changed this off-season) and, as has been mentioned had been used earlier in the season with the ruling going against the Patriots in a game against the Jets.

    Second, the Raiders are 60-116, while the Patriots are 135-41 (regular season records). The Raiders have one winning season and two .500 seasons. The Patriots have 11 winning seasons.

    Third, Yes, the Patriots were the “laughing stock of the league” but that was because of the Sullivan ownership. During this stretch, the Patriots have been a model franchise with Robert Kraft the owner, Bill Belichick the coach and Tom Brady the quarterback. Rather than list the coaches and quarterbacks of the Raiders, I’ll simply say that there has been no consistency in Oakland (can you say Jamarcus Russell?).

    Finally, not only did Ben Dreith make a phantom call against “Sugar Bear” Hamilton, but he admitted it before his death saying that he was a Raider fan.

    So, whose delusional?

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