With 1:50 left in the game, on a snowy night in Foxborough, Massachusetts, QB Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense were driving in Oakland territory trailing by 3 points. Brady was blitzed by Raiders DB Charles Woodson, who hit Brady and knocked the ball loose. Even though Brady's arm was moving back toward his body with the ball, referees ruled it a fumble and reviewed the play.
That's when we learned about NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2: "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. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble."
The Patriots kept the ball, tied the game and won it in overtime. New England's magical postseason continued when the Patriots upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, then stunned the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Without the Tuck Rule, Brady's career might have turned out differently. Now directors Ken Rodgers ("The Two Bills", "Al Davis vs. The NFL") and Nick Mascolo tell the story with ESPN's latest 30 for 30 film, "The Tuck Rule."
Here is how to watch:
Premiere: Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN App. Jason Fitz will host "Inside 30 for 30" with Rodgers and former Patriots lineman Damien Woody, on ESPN+ immediately after the film.
Replay: The film is available for replay immediately after on ESPN+ and on the ESPN App (thru WatchESPN authentication).