One of the newest rule changes in the NFL is that of ditching the infamous tuck rule. It is infamous because ruling a play as a tuck rule situation was what cost the Raiders a chance at a trip to the Super Bowl following the 2001 season.
As many Raiders fans are painfully aware, it was Tom Brady on a snowy day in Foxboro who pump faked and pulled the ball back just as Charles Woodson sacked him, knocking the ball loose. Had the play stood as a fumble, the Raiders would have been able to kneel the clock out and head to the Super Bowl. Officials ruled it a tuck rule situation which made the play an incomplete pass.
Now 12 years later, the archaic rule is now gone. Many questioned the timing of the change as it came not long after Al Davis had passed away. In speaking with Pete Morelli in a meeting with officials at Raiders training camp today, he says the change was made due to the league's comfort with the replay system.
"You could never define where the arm stops (before) and they kept that philosophy," said Morelli. "With all the technology we have you kinda know he's not passing anymore when the ball is here (demonstrates arm extension). You're gonna see probably more replay. We'll probably officiate it like fumbles then go back and replay and confirm it or say it was part of the pass. We feel comfortable enough with replay and the system. That's kind of a change in philosophy."
He was asked point blank if this change would have made the Tom Brady tuck rule a fumble and Morelli said plainly that is would absolutely have been a fumble.
With Charles Woodson now back with the Raiders. He has never not felt burnt by that call although his winning a Super Bowl with the Packers eased the pain some. The Raiders as an organization have made it clear since the rule was tossed that they are still not over it and I don't expect that to change any time soon.