Today marks the 15th anniversary of the most controversial use of replay in NFL history. We’re talking, of course, about the infamous Tuck Rule game, in which the New England Patriots, thanks to a late Tom Brady fumble being overturned thanks to an obscure rule, beat the Oakland Raiders to advance to the 2002 AFC Championship Game.
A lot of people see the incident as one of the NFL’s great what ifs. Does the Patriots dynasty – if you can call it that – happen? Is Tom Brady the same great quarterback without that first Super Bowl win? What about Bill Belichick? And in Oakland, does Jon Gruden stick around instead of getting traded to Tampa Bay and wining a Super Bowl there?
It’s all very fascinating but a tremendous waste of time. Outside of the winner of Super Bowl XXXVI, not much would have changed.
We’ll start with Brady. His career would have taken the same path to greatness. One fumble would not have stopped him from working hard on his game and developing as he did. And, no, he would not have lost his job after coughing the ball up. This is Bill Belichick we’re talking about; how many high-priced veterans have we seen him cast away from New England? Drew Bledsoe…