NFL may abandon tuck rule

Updated: March 15, 2013, 12:12 PM ET
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com

A proposal from the NFL's competition committee suggests the NFL abandon the infamous "tuck rule," which gained popularity during a New England Patriots playoff win over the Oakland Raiders in January 2002.

Under the proposed rule change, a quarterback who loses control of the football when bringing it back to his body after a pump fake will be deemed to have fumbled. Under the current rule, such a play would result in an incompletion.

In the 2002 playoff game, that was the case when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was hit from behind by Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson. A video review overturned the call of a fumble, which prolonged the Patriots' drive. New England came from behind to win the game and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

The league owners will vote on this and five other proposed rule changes at the NFL owners meetings, which run from Sunday through Wednesday.

"Tuck Rule? It's been 11 years, 1 month and 23 days...but who's counting?" read a tweet from the Raiders on Thursday night.

Among the other proposed rule changes is a modification to illegal challenges by coaches. The competition committee is looking to do away with a rule that prevents challenges if a coach illegally throws his red flag on a play that was to be automatically reviewed.

This past Thanksgiving, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on a touchdown run by Texans running back Justin Forsett after his knee clearly hit the ground. Because all scoring plays are automatically reviewed, his challenge was illegal and no video replay ensued. The Texans won the game in overtime.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.