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'Tuck rule' still a sore point for Raiders, Woodson

NAPA — Time heals all wounds?

Tell it to Charles Woodson.

The NFL officiating crew made its annual trip to Raiders training camp Friday to go over rule changes and points of emphasis.

The one of most interest to Raiders fans was the modification of the “tuck rule.”

In short, quarterbacks who abort a passing motion and bring the ball back to their body and lose possession are charged with a fumble.

Previously, the rule held that it was still part of the passing motion and considered an incomplete pass, even if it wasn't always enforced that way.

It was under that rule on Jan. 19, 2002, that official Walt Coleman determined that what appeared to be a fumble by Tom Brady after a sack on a Woodson blitz was an incomplete pass rather than a fumble recovery by linebacker Greg Biekert.

It came after a lengthy replay delay and extended a New England Patriots drive that ended in a game-tying 45-yard field goal in a driving snow by Adam Vinatieri.

The Raiders then lost, 16-13, in overtime.

When told the NFL video presentation would include that change, Woodson, with a bittersweet laugh, said, “I don't need no lesson in that.”

Woodson was spared the indignity of having to watch his sack-fumble of Brady once more. The NFL video instead made no reference to the play that made the tuck rule famous, instead showing examples of the play in games last season involving the St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.

Following the presentation, NFL official Pete Morelli said, “The philosophy prior to this year was that you could never define when the arm stops.

“Now, with all the technology, you know, 'Hey, he's not passing.'”

Asked if under the new rule if the Brady play would be a fumble, Morelli said, “Yes, I think so.”

Not that it's any consolation to those who were on that losing playoff team in Foxboro Stadium.

“None of us on that team I don't think will ever get over it,” Woodson said.

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