2002 AFC divisional playoff game
The game just moments before the controversial incomplete pass. Picture from CBS televising the game.
1 2 3 4<th width="15">OT</th> Total
Oakland Raiders 0 7 6 0<td bgcolor="#E0E6EB">0</td> 13
New England Patriots 0 0 3 10<td bgcolor="#E0E6EB">3</td> 6
Date January 19, 2002
Stadium Foxboro Stadium
Location Foxborough, Massachusetts
Referee Walt Coleman
Attendance 60,292
Network CBS
Announcers Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms

The 2002 AFC divisional playoff game, known to some as the "Tuck Rule Game"[1] or "Snow Bowl"[2][3] (or the "Snow Job" to Raiders fans[4][5]) was the playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. It took place on January 19, 2002 at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, then the home stadium of the Patriots. The name "Tuck Rule Game" originates from the controversial game-changing play. In the play, Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, which in turn, seemingly caused a fumble that was eventually recovered by Raiders' linebacker Greg Biekert. Officials reviewed the play, and determined that Brady's arm was moving forward, thus making it an incomplete pass. As a result, the original call was overturned, and the ball was given back to the Patriots, who subsequently moved the ball into field goal range. With under a minute remaining in regulation, Patriots' placekicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 13, which sent the game into overtime. In overtime, Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal to win the game for the Patriots. New England went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

The "tuck rule" callEdit

Playing in a heavy snow storm, Oakland led at halftime, 7–0, and then took a 13–3 lead into the fourth quarter after two field goals. Brady rushed in for a touchdown to cut the lead to 13–10. With less than two minutes left to play, the Patriots drove the ball down the field. While they were slightly out of field goal range, Brady dropped back to pass and dropped the ball after being hit by Woodson. Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert dove on the ball, and was initially credited with a recovered fumble.

In 1999, though, a new rule had been introduced, which eventually became known as the tuck rule:

NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.[6]

After instant replay, referee Walt Coleman reversed this call, declared the play an incomplete forward pass, and gave possession back to New England. In explaining the reversal to the stadium crowd and the television audience, the referee stated that the ball was moving forward at the time it was dropped. In later interviews, the referee stated that it was his explanation, not the reversal, that was in error; the ball was moving backwards when it was lost, but the tuck rule applied. Thus, the original call was overturned, and New England maintained possession.

Because the play was initially ruled a fumble, instant replay rules required the referee to see "incontrovertable visual evidence" on the replay that Brady had not "tucked the ball into his body and then {lost} possession" of it before reversing the original call on the field.

The outcomeEdit

With the Patriots given new life, Brady completed a 13-yard pass to David Patten that advanced the ball to the Raider 29. Shortly thereafter, Vinatieri came on to attempt a game-tying field goal. Kicking into the wind and snow, Vinatieri's line-drive kick was good from 45 yards away with 27 seconds left, and the game was tied. After the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders decided not to attempt to advance the ball and let the game go to overtime.

The Patriots won the toss and took the ball to start overtime. They drove 61 yards in 15 plays, with Brady completing all eight of his pass attempts for 45 yards. On fourth down and 4 from the Raider 28, Brady hit Patten for a six-yard completion. A few plays later, Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal and the Patriots won 16-13. It was the final game at Foxboro Stadium, due to the Pittsburgh Steelers winning their divisional playoff game (they had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs).

With the win, the Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, where they scored a 24-17 victory, and then defeated the NFC champion St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI on a last-second field goal by Vinatieri to capture their first Super Bowl championship.

Starting lineupsEdit

Oakland Position New England
Tim Brown WR Troy Brown
Barry Sims LT Matt Light
Steve Wisniewski LG Mike Compton
Adam Treu C Damien Woody
Frank Middleton RG Joe Andruzzi
Lincoln Kennedy RT Greg Robinson-Randall
Roland Williams TE Rod Rutledge
Jerry Rice WR David Patten
Rich Gannon QB Tom Brady
Charlie Garner RB Antowain Smith
Jon Ritchie FB Marc Edwards
Regan Upshaw LE Bobby Hamilton
Rod Coleman LDT Brandon Mitchell
Grady Jackson RDT Riddick Parker
Tony Bryant RE Anthony Pleasant
William Thomas LOLB Mike Vrabel
Greg Biekert MLB Tedy Bruschi
Elijah Alexander ROLB Roman Phifer
Charles Woodson LCB Ty Law
Eric Allen RCB Otis Smith
Johnnie Harris SS Lawyer Milloy
Anthony Dorsett FS Tebucky Jones


External linksEdit

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