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The Tuck Rule is no more


It’s much too late for the Raiders, but the Tuck Rule has been wiped out.

The NFL owners voted Wednesday to wipe out the Tuck Rule at their meetings in Phoenix. With the rule eliminated, quarterbacks who pump fake and lose the ball while trying to bring it back into their torso will be deemed to have fumbled. Before the change, such a play would be ruled an incompletion.

We led with the Raiders because the Tuck Rule will always be linked to their AFC Divisional Round game against the Patriots in 2002. It was a little-discussed rule until Tom Brady was ruled to have thrown an incomplete pass after dropping the ball when he was hit by Charles Woodson of the Raiders. The Patriots drove for a game-tying field goal, won the game in overtime and went on to win the Super Bowl.

That game was a long time ago and there haven’t been a spate of high-profile instances of the rule being used in subsequent years, but the league obviously decided that the Tuck Rule had outlived its usefulness.

UPDATE 12:42 p.m. ET: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the measure passed by a vote of 29-1 with two teams abstaining. One was the Redskins and, appropriately enough, the Patriots were the other.