Patriots

Patriots

The venue of Walt Coleman's final regular-season as an NFL referee was perfect.

Coleman, who's reportedly retiring after this season, was the referee in Sunday's Week 17 matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. 

The league's longest-tenured active ref is best remembered as the referee in the famous 2001 Divisional Round playoff game where the Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders in the snow at the old Foxboro Stadium with the help of the "tuck rule."

Brady fumbled the ball in the second half and the Raiders recovered, likely ending New England's chances of making a comeback. The play was challenged, and Coleman reversed the call, noting Brady's arm was going forward, therefore making it an incomplete pass.

Brady took the time to find Coleman after Sunday's game and shake his hand.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft also paid Coleman a visit. 

It's interesting to wonder how the Patriots' dynasty would've unfolded -- it might not have happened at all -- if Coleman didn't make the ruling he did on that play. To his credit, he made the correct call as the rule was written. 

The Patriots beat the Jets 38-3 on Sunday to secure a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs and at least the No. 2 seed.

RELATED: Read the latest AFC playoff picture update

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