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Tom Brady on Tuck Rule game: 'It’s probably a very sour part of [Raiders] history, but that’s the way it goes'

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

It has been almost 19 years since the Tuck Rule game. Raiders fans have not gotten over it.

Seriously, bring it up to any of them. The reaction won’t be much different than it presumably was that snowy night. You’re likely to hear about how the NFL is out to get the Raiders and that’s a great example of it.

Tom Brady and Jon Gruden haven’t forgotten, for different reasons. The two meet again Sunday when Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers play at Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders.

Brady’s career took off after the New England Patriots won the Tuck Rule game. New England won a Super Bowl two games later. The Raiders are still bitter. Brady knows that and his comments this week will twist the knife some more.

‘It’s a fluke call’

Raiders fans will argue forever that Brady fumbled on a sack by Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson. Officials reviewed the play and cited a rule that was deep in the rule book then but that night became shorthand for one of the NFL’s greatest games ever. The tuck rule was enforced, it was an incomplete pass and the Patriots went on to win the game.

This will not surprise you: Gruden still brings it up to Brady.

“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, via Pro Football Talk. “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 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.”

Brady admitting it was a “fluke call” will just set Raiders fans off even more. They’ve been arguing that for nearly two decades.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) loses the ball after being brought down by Oakland Raiders' Charles Woodson in the famous Tuck Rule game . (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) loses the ball after being brought down by Oakland Raiders' Charles Woodson in the famous Tuck Rule game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Tom Brady, Jon Gruden went on different paths

Football history changed on that day, in a blizzard in New England. Brady went on to win six Super Bowls. Maybe he would have still won five had the Patriots lost that game to the Raiders, but we can’t know that for sure.

Instead of the Raiders possibly moving on to a Super Bowl that season, they went home and Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden’s Bucs beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season. Gruden coached for a while with the Bucs, moved to the “Monday Night Football” booth and then came back to the Raiders. Had Brady’s fumble held, maybe history for the Raiders and Gruden looks much different, too.

Gruden and Raiders fans will never forget. Even though Brady is in a different uniform, there are sure to be some flashbacks.

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