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Tom Brady came clean about the famous tuck rule game while trying to cash in on the latest TikTok trend Thursday.
Brady answered the trend first set by pop star Justin Bieber, who asked fans to “tell me something honest.” The Tampa Bay Buccaneers star quarterback turned the camera on himself, looking around his house to make sure no one was watching, and gave his answer.
“The tuck rule game against the Raiders … might’ve been a fumble,” Brady said softly.
Brady later said it was a “tough call.”
The playoff game where the controversial call occurred happened in 2002 in the divisional round between the New England Patriots and the then-Oakland Raiders. The play happened in the driving snow while Brady was going back to pass and Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson appeared to knock the ball out of his hands, causing a fumble.
Oakland linebacker Greg Biekert recovered the ball and if it would have stayed that way, the Patriots would have likely been knocked out of the playoffs, disrupting Brady’s hopes of a Super Bowl, which New England went on to win a month later.
However, NFL rules at the time stated that Brady was attempting to “tuck” the ball back into his body and thus the pass was ruled incomplete. Rules at the time stated, “When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body”
The Patriots would win the game 16-13, and then defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 20-17, in Super Bowl XXXVI on Feb. 3, 2002.
Brady would later say in “The Tuck Rule” 30 for 30 documentary he would’ve likely been the backup the next season if the play was ruled a fumble.