The verified NFL Research account on Twitter made a bizarre Tuck Rule reference during Patriots-Raiders on Sunday.
Fans in New England are well aware of the history the Patriots share with the Las Vegas Raiders, who, of course, moved on from Oakland prior to the start of the 2020 season. Their rivalry started in 1990 and the two teams have squared off a whopping 33 times since then.
The Patriots hold a slim advantage in both the regular season series (15-14-1) as well as the playoffs (2-1). The most bizarre of their meetings came in the 2001 AFC Divisional Round, when head coach Bill Belichick’s side escaped with a 16-13 victory after one of the most controversial rulings in NFL history.
It what has since become known as the “Tuck Rule Game,” the Raiders managed what appeared to be a game-clinching sack -fumble of Tom Brady. We’ll get into the details a little bit later, because that’s not entirely important here.
During Sunday’s Week 3 clash between the two AFC teams, the official “NFL Research” account on Twitter made a truly befuddling reference to the 2001 clash. What prompted their bizarre tweet? A fumble by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the second quarter that was recovered by the Patriots defense.
Talk about a reach. We get the sheer magnitude behind the reversal of Brady’s fumble, but there was literally zero point to reference it here. It’s not even necessary to dive into the absurdity of this tweet, but why not?
For starters, the Tuck Rule was rightfully abandoned by the NFL in 2013, so it’s not like similar controversy could have presented itself on Sunday. There’s also the fact that this game, as big as it is for both sides, is hardly a must-win, let alone a win or go home in the playoffs. Not to mention that Carr’s fumble came in the opening minutes of the second quarter, not on a pivotal play with a spot in the AFC Championship Game on the line.
The only thing you could argue the two plays share in common is the actual play itself, as both pressures and subsequent sack-fumbles came from the right side of the defense. Carr’s fumble, however, was clear as day.
In 2001, refs determined that Brady stopped his passing motion and tried tucking the ball into his body. It was ultimately ruled an incomplete pass and the Patriots went on to tie the game on a field goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation before squeaking out the win in overtime.
We don’t request that tweets be deleted very often, but NFL Research should absolutely consider doing so, because this attempted comparison was laughable.