- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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NFL owners voted overwhelming Wednesday to abolish the tuck rule, which gained notoriety when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had the football jarred loose from him during a January 2002 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, the play ultimately ruled an incompletion, not a fumble, thanks to the rule.
League owners voted 29-1 in favor of a rule change, which now states that when a quarterback is attempting to bring the football back to his torso after pumping it and loses control of it, it will be ruled a fumble. The previous rule stated such a play would be an incompletion.
Of particular note in the vote is that two owners abstained from voting, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft (Redskins owner Dan Snyder was the other), sources told ESPN. The Steelers were the only club to vote for keeping the rules, sources said.
Kraft on Monday said that abstaining was a possibility, "I have a great bond with the tuck rule," he said.
Head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the proposed rule change on Tuesday and noted that his team would deal with whatever decision was made. He also reminded that his team both benefited and was hurt by the rule during the 2001 season, as it helped them defeat the Raiders but also cost them in an earlier game against the Jets.