Sports | January 19, 2022 12:15 pm

Tom Brady and Charles Woodson Team Up on 30 for 30 “Tuck Rule” Documentary

The ESPN Films production will premiere the week before the Super Bowl on February 6

Tom Brady takes a hit from Charles Woodson on a pass attempt in their AFC playoff game in 2002
Tom Brady takes a hit from Charles Woodson on a pass attempt in an AFC playoff game in 2002.

Had it not been for a controversial ruling about a play that happened 20 years ago on January 19, 2002, on a snowy night in Foxboro, 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady may not have made it another decade in the NFL, let alone two.

On the play in question, Brady dropped back to pass against the Oakland Raider with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter and his team trailing by three points. Before Brady could get rid of the ball cleanly, his college teammate Charles Woodson came in from the right and hit the young quarterback. The ball ended up on the ground and the Raiders recovered, seemingly sealing the victory for the visiting team in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game.

However, after officials reviewed the play it was determined that Brady was attempting to “tuck” the ball back into his body after beginning his passing motion and therefore it was an incomplete pass instead of a fumble under the then-effective NFL rules. The Patriots kept the ball and Brady was able to guide them for a game-tying field goal before New England eventually won the game in overtime.

Technically the correct call due to NFL rulebook at the time, the so-called “tuck rule” is one of the most controversial plays in sports history and directly led to Brady winning his first playoff game en route to his first Super Bowl victory.

That being the case, it’s a perfect subject for the next installment of ESPN’s Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series. Featuring an exclusive sit-down between Brady and Woodson as well as interviews with referee Walt Coleman, Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Mark Davis, Tim Brown, Eric Allen and Lincoln Kennedy, “The Tuck Rule” will debut on February 6.

“The Tuck Rule is certainly one of the most controversial calls in the history of sports, but it may also be one of its most consequential,” director Ken Rodgers, who previously was behind the camera for 30 for 30 episode “Al Davis vs. The NFL,” said. “It proves that one moment, this moment, any moment, can change our lives – just as it did for Brady and Woodson twenty years ago today. It was awe-inspiring to hear these two friends talk with each other about that moment for the first time in their lives. Their emotions about that night are still fresh.”

Following the premiere on the 6th, film will be made available on ESPN+ immediately afterward along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library.