Charles Woodson and Tom Brady perhaps have the most interesting history between any 2 players in NFL history. As Woodson was enshrined into the Hall of Fame this week, Brady didn’t hold back on the Tuck Rule jokes.
Tom Brady just couldn’t miss this year’s HOF enshrinement. As well as being there for his longtime friend and rival Peyton Manning, he also showed support for his former Wolverine teammates Steve Hutchinson and Charles Woodson.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) August 8, 2021
Posting on his Instagram story to once again congratulate Woodson, Brady wrote, “It wasn’t a fumble 👀. Congrats to my fellow Michigan man and one of the best to ever do it!”
The Incredible Story of Charles Woodson and Tom Brady
The Woodson-Brady story goes all the way back to the late 90s, when both players were members of Michigan’s 1997 National Championship winning team.
While Woodson became the first and only defensive player to ever win the Hesiman trophy and was selected 4th overall in the ’98 draft, Brady wasn’t as popular in college.
He was famously selected by the Patriots in the 6th round in the greatest draft steal of all-time. By far. But once the former teammates reached the pros, they both rose to superstardom.
The “Tuck Rule”
The pair met in the 2002 AFC Divisional Round, in what would become one of the most controversial NFL games of all-time. Woodson’s Raiders were leading 13-10 late in the 4th quarter on a snowy night in Foxboro.
The Patriots had the ball, but when Woodson sacked Brady and the ball came flying out for a defensive recovery, the Raiders thought they had wrapped up the game. Not so fast.
The referees ruled the play an incomplete pass, stating a then virtually unknown rule: NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. It reads, “When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.”
Although Brady was obviously not attempting a pass, the “Tuck Rule” saved the Patriots’ season. Adam Vinatieri tied the game before he consequently won it in overtime, and Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
The Tuck Rule was eventually repealed in 2013, as NFL owners voted against it in a lopsided 29-1 decision. But that definitely doesn’t mean that NFL fans, or Tom Brady, will ever stop talking about it.