Tom Brady and Jon Gruden's Raiders will square off in a Week 7 matchup Sunday for the first time since the infamous "Tuck Rule" game during the 2001 NFL playoffs.
Of course, a lot has changed in the nearly 20 years since that iconic moment in league history.
Brady isn't playing for the New England Patriots anymore. He's now the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden left the Raiders shortly after that game to coach the Buccaneers. Following a broadcasting career with ESPN, he returned to coaching in 2018 with the Raiders. The Raiders franchise also left Oakland and relocated to Las Vegas this season.
What has remained over the last 18 years are the vivid memories and raw emotion from that game. Brady was asked during his Thursday press conference if he's ever talked to Gruden about the play. Unsurprisingly, they have discussed it.
“I’ve only been around him a few times – not too often – but it gets brought up every time we are around one another,” Brady said. “I could see why he hasn’t gotten over it. One of my ex-teammates, Charles Woodson, we’ve been together probably more than that, and he and I have hashed it out.
“That was just an unbelievable game. I still see it today and it’s a great part of my football history and it’s probably a very sour part of their football history, but that’s the way it goes. We had that in ’07 when we played against the (New York) Giants in the Super Bowl, and in ‘11 and in ’17 – one team wins and one team loses. It’s a fluke call, one ball bounces your way or one goes the opposite way.
"I’ll always feel I have some type of strong feeling or emotion toward the Raiders. I’ve played them a few times since, and they’ve got a great history of football [and] football players. Al Davis (is) just one of the pioneers in the history of the NFL. Whenever you play them, you kind of always feel that.”
Brady and Gruden matched up twice when the fiery coach was leading the Buccaneers. Brady and the Patriots defeated Gruden's Bucs in 2005 and 2009. Tampa Bay fired Gruden after the 2009 season.
Gruden and the Raiders enter Sunday's game with a 3-2 record. They ended the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs' 12-game win streak in Week 5 before having a Week 6 bye.
Gruden's Raiders are once again on the cusp of something special, and once again Brady is in their way. It's a fascinating subplot in one of Sunday's most intriguing games.