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'Tuck Rule Game' turns 10

---Today marks the 10th anniversary of the “Tuck Rule Game’’ which saw referee Walt Coleman controversially overturn Tom Brady’s fumble to give the ball back to New England, setting up the Patriots’ 16-13 overtime victory over Oakland and igniting a dominant New England run

Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson stripped the ball from Brady in the fourth quarter and linebacker Greg Biekert recovered the fumble with less than two minutes remaining. But Coleman invoked the little-known Tuck Rule during a booth review and declared the play an incomplete pass because Brady’s arm had been moving forward. That gave the ball back to New England who forced the game into overtime on a 45-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri.

"I remember waiting in the snow waiting for Walt Coleman to come out and give us his ruling," former Pats great Tedy Bruschi said. "I was talking to (former Raider) Tim Brown out on the field because when replays are being discussed players will talk to other players on the other side of the ball and argue about this and that. I was talking to Tim Brown and I said, 'Tim, I think that's the Tuck Rule.' ''

Bruschi said he remembered a game earlier that season in a loss to the St. Louis Rams where the Tuck Rule went against New England on a fumble by quarterback Kurt Warner. Then Rams coach Mike Martz said afterwards that the Patriots were a Super Bowl caliber team.

Since that game, New England has captured eight AFC East championships, four AFC titles and three Super Bowls.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Rodney McKissic
News Sports Reporter

FOXBROUGH, Ma. – Quarterback Tom Brady returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a sore left shoulder.

Brady said he used the time Wednesday for extra film study and treatment on his shoulder as New England prepares for the AFC Championship game against Baltimore on Sunday.

“”It’s just a matter of ultimately trying to be as prepared as we can for Sunday,’’ Brady said. “”I’m certainly going to be as prepared as I possibly can be.’’

Brady wouldn’t say if his shoulder was too painful to miss Wednesday’s session but that’s likely the case considering how much the All-Pro quarterback loves practice.

“”When Coach [Bill Belichick] feels its best that you do other things to get yourself ready, that’s what you do and you still use all that time very wisely,’’ Brady said. “”You don’t go lounging around taking naps or anything like that. You’re just putting in extra work and making sure you’re getting prepared.’’

Cornerback Kyle Arrington (foot), guard Dan Connolly (groin) and wide receiver Matt Slater (shoulder) all fully participated for New England while safety Ed Reed (ankle) was the only player limited for the Ravens.

****

The Ravens have finished with back-to-back 12-4 seasons as well as an AFC North championship but quarterback Joe Flacco said in order for the team to be considered special, they have to win the Super Bowl.

“”You can’t get to the playoffs and lose every year and expect to be considered a special team,’’ he said. “We are definitely a good football team. That is without question. To be a special team, you have to win championships. We are working towards that. That is why we are here right now. That is why we put ourselves in this position every year. If you are here every year, you give yourself a way higher percentage of getting to the Super Bowl and winning it.’’

However Flacco, now in his fourth season, said there isn’t a sense of desperation to win immediately but contending annually for championships is expected.

“”I don’t think you ever want to feel that way,’’ he said. “The bottom line is that getting to the playoffs and getting to this position is a rare thing. We have been spoiled around here, but that is because we are a good football team. You say teams are not in this position a lot or young guys don’t get used to this – you always hear that. Well, shoot, we should get used to it. We are a good … football team. Why shouldn’t we be here every year?’’

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There’s been plenty of praise heaped on Tom Brady this week following his six-touchdown performance in New England’s 45-10 win over Denver and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is following suit calling Brady, “”arguably one of the best two quarterbacks of all time.’’

“”You’ve got your hands full from Day One, before you even step on the field with him, because it’s a film study game with him,’’ Lewis said. “”He wants to [identify] everything that’s coming out and know what you’re in. Your job is to disguise and not show him all of that. It’s a chess match, almost. Like Peyton Manning, anytime you play Peyton Manning, it’s the same type of chess match. So we’ve got our hands full this week.’’

****

Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of the “Tuck Rule Game’’ which saw referee Walt Coleman controversially overturn Tom Brady’s fumble to give the ball back to New England, setting up the Patriots’ 16-13 overtime victory over Oakland and igniting a dominant New England run.

Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson stripped the ball from Brady in the fourth quarter and linebacker Greg Biekert recovered the fumble with less than two minutes remaining. But Coleman invoked the little-known Tuck Rule during a booth review and declared the play an incomplete pass because Brady’s arm had been moving forward. That gave the ball back to New England who forced the game into overtime on a 45-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri.

“”I remember waiting in the snow waiting for Walt Coleman to come out and give us his ruling,’’ former Pats great Tedy Bruschi said. “”I was talking to (former Raider) Tim Brown out on the field because when replays are being discussed players will talk to other players on the other side of the ball and argue about this and that. I was talking to Tim Brown and I said, ‘Tim, I think that's the Tuck Rule.’ ’’

Bruschi said he remembered a game earlier that season in a loss to the St. Louis Rams where the Tuck Rule went against New England on a fumble by quarterback Kurt Warner. Then Rams coach Mike Martz said afterwards that the Patriots were a Super Bowl caliber team.

Since that game, New England has captured eight AFC East championships, four AFC titles and three Super Bowls.

“”There is no word to use except for impressive about making the right decision at all levels,’’ Bruschi said. “”Mr. [Bob] Kraft and his decision to build up the area, the new stadium and Patriot Place and bring in Coach [Bill] Belichick. Of course, I was there for Coach [Bill] Parcells and Coach [Pete] Carroll and Coach Belichick coming in. Then the decisions that Coach Belichick has made to which players come in, which players stay for a long time, which players you cut ties with and when to cut ties with them. He’s made the toughest of decisions and I admire him for that because a lot of head coaches or general managers, they won’t make those tough decisions that he makes, all the w6ay down to quarterbacks and kickers, making decisions on what they do and how they play. It’s really been a pleasure to be a part of and not even looking at it from analytical point of view, it’s just nice to see them continuing the way it’s been.’’

rmckissic@buffnews.com

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