The fact that Charles Woodson refuses to let go of the tuck rule call on Tom Brady in the 2002 Divisional Round playoff game is one of the reasons he continues to be a fan favorite among the Raider Nation. It's like a constant reminder to the fans that no, they aren't obsessing, that there is good reason to never let go of the tuck rule debacle.
Woodson appeared on NFL Game Day today where he led off with a light-hearted reminder for Brady, who will be playing in the AFC Championship game today against the Broncos, that he owes a lot to that terrible call in the snow so many years ago.
"Lets get this out of the way. If they make the correct call, which they did at first, and then they overturned it, this (10)-game playoff streak that Tom Brady has, it never happened," Woodson said. "Tom Brady owes me his house. I'm the reason why he's married to who he's married to. Everything. Because they overturned that call. Tom, come on now, fess up, it was a fumble. It's still a fumble."
That fumble occurred when Woodson cam on a blitz and knocked the ball out of Brady's hand while he was not in a throwing motion. At first ruled a fumble, it was overturned by an obscure rule most had never even heard of - the tuck rule - which was an archaic, ill-conceived rule that is as hard to explain as it is to understand why it still existed. That rule was removed from the books last year.
If the fumble had stood, the Raiders would have been able to kneel out the clock and gone on to the Conference Championship. Instead it was the Patriots who continued on and Brady, Belichick and company won their first of three Super Bowls.
The Raiders would trade then head coach Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers and then unfortunately face him in the Super Bowl using the offense he constructed. Woodson would sign with the Packers a few years later and eventually get his Super Bowl ring. And even at the time, he said it should have been his second ring if not for the tuck rule game.
Woodson probably doesn't hold ill will for Tom Brady personally - after all, they were teammates at Michigan - but it's pretty clear the tuck rule game is still very fresh in his mind.