Report: Tuck rule change passes overwhelmingly

Report: Tuck rule change passes overwhelmingly
March 20, 2013, 12:30 pm
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If you're a Raiders fan, it's 12 years too late. If you're a Patriots fan, you enjoyed it while it lasted.

At the owners meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday, there were several rules changes that were voted on. Among them, what's become known as the "tuck rule" has been eliminated.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was the first to report the news of the rule change.

Of course, the Patriots benefited more than any other team while the tuck rule was in effect. You know the story . . .

When Tom Brady dropped back to pass in New England's Divisional Round game against the Raiders in 2001, he was stripped and the Raiders appeared to recover the resulting fumble. However, because Brady's arm was moving forward, the play was ruled an incomplete pass, and the Patriots retained possession. The rest, as they say, is history.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft commented on the potential elimination of the tuck rule earlier this week.

"To be honest, prior to the snow game, I never knew what the tuck rule was," Kraft said. "I love the tuck rule and forever will."

Kraft also said he may have to abstain from the vote, and according to ESPN, that's what they did. Twenty-nine teams voted to abolish the tuck rule. The Steelers voted to keep it, and the Redskins and Patriots abstained.

"I know [former Raiders owner] Al Davis, may he rest in peace, is probably smiling," Kraft said on Monday.

Teams also voted to install a rule that would ban contact with the tops of their helmets outside of the tackle box. Notably, it would prohibit running backs from lowering their heads and making contact with the crowns of their helmets.

Bill Belichick commented on the potential change on Tuesday.

“I think the game is pretty hard to officiate as it is," Belichick said. "I think this is a real hard rule to officiate. Let’s start with that. I guess we’ll talk more about it in the next couple days.”

The league also decided to change the rule pertaining to coaches who throw challenge flags on plays that would be automatically reviewed. Before, the play would not be reviewed and the offending coach's team would be assessed a 15-yard penalty. Now, the 15-yard penalty still exists, but the review will occur as it otherwise normally would.

More to come . . .