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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Retweet of the Day - March 21, 2013

Calendar year 2013 has been a tough year for Patriots Fan, even tougher for their future Hall of Fame signal caller. New England was smothered at home and eliminated by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. Quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract to free up salary cap space. His guaranteed money went up, but total money went down. The Pats’ glaring free agency priority was Brady’s favorite receiver, Wes Welker.

What happened? The Pats lowballed Welker and Welker took his talents to the Mile High City for a Scorned Lover’s Discount (i.e. less than New England offered). He will be catching his passes from Peyton Manning next year. Welker’s defection, in my opinion, makes the Denver Broncos the front runner in the AFC in 2013.

Super Bowl run? Gone. Money? Gone. Favorite receiver? Gone. Tuck Rule? Gone. what's next?
Tainted Legacy

How could things get any worse for Tom Terrific? Yesterday, the NFL announced that it was eliminating the Tuck Rule. If you talk sports with me personally or read this blog regularly, I need not explain how “TuckRule” is a profanity within the confines of my fanhood. The careers of Brady, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, and the legacy of the current Patriots regime were launched due to the Tuck Rule.

If you are new to watching the NFL, or are not old enough to drink yet, the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots met in Foxboro in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff round. The Raiders led by three points in the final minutes of the game. The Patriots were out of timeouts. Cornerback Charles Woodson of the Raiders hit Brady as Brady was bringing his arm back to his body after pump-faking a pass attempt. Linebacker Greg Biekert of the Raiders fell on the loose ball and the game appeared to be over.

Lo and behold, upon review of the instant replay, the officials ruled that Brady was in the process of tucking the ball away, part of the process of a forward pass by rule. The rule became known as “The Tuck Rule”. It was virtually unheard of by the masses prior to that January night in 2002. It has been a lightning rod football discussions ever since.

At least one problem wife (Anna Burns Welker) is out of the Patriots' clubhouse.

The Fallout

The result of the play was an incomplete pass, not a fumble. The rest is history. The Patriots tied the score, sent the game into overtime and won on clutch Adam Vinitieri field goals at the end of regulation and in the extra frame. The Patriots went on to beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans and the Patriots current AFC dynasty was born.

This is more than just a rule change. It is a subtle, implicit statement about the Belichick-era Patriots' legacy. It is the most legitimacy-challenged sports dynasty in my lifetime. Tom Brady himself couldn't believe the Raiders' fumble recovery in the '01 playoffs was overturned. Without it, either the Raiders, Rams, or Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl and the Pats' three championship dynasty is an impressive, but tainted, back-to-back run in 2003 and 2004.

Of course, the three Patriots Super Bowl wins have been overshadowed by the specter of the Spygate controversy, in which the Patriots were caught videotaping divisional opponents' defensive signals. New England has not won a Super Bowl since the scandal broke in 2008. 

Today's retweet could be a summary statement for the aforementioned, from Rick Fox (@RFoxxWNY):

"Tough week for Tom Brady he loses his favorite wide receiver and now the Tuck Rule has been eliminated." 

The karma from the football gods keeps piling up.
Images cited in a prior Daily Hat Trick Postings.

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