NFL Tuck Rule: What Historic Change Means for 2013 Season

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2013

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Once the saving grace for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, the tuck rule has officially been abolished.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports that the tuck rule is no more as of Wednesday:

What exactly is the tuck rule?

Mark Maske of the Washington Post does an excellent job of breaking it down for us non-NFL officials:

A quarterback's throwing motion begins when he raises the ball in his hand and begins to move his arm forward; that motion doesn't end until the quarterback tucks the ball back against his body, making him a runner. If the ball comes loose any time in between, it's an incomplete pass, not a fumble.

In the grand scheme of things, the abolishment of the tuck rule is good for football.

Just because a quarterback raises the ball in his hand and begins his throwing motion shouldn't mean that opposing defenses aren't entitled to hitting the QB and forcing a turnover.

Going forward, quarterbacks will have to handle the ball with extreme care—this means you, Eli Manning.

The bottom line: the rule change will likely result in the turnover numbers skyrocketing and more success for defenses in the NFL in the upcoming season.

Robert Griffin III, Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick were the top three fumblers among all NFL players last season, and now without the tuck rule, it's hard to see those fumble numbers decreasing.

As if opposing defenses needed more motivation to go after quarterbacks, they'll now be going full steam knowing they have an even better chance at forcing a fumble and making a huge play for their defense.

The death of the tuck rule means that quarterbacks need to make the correct first reads since they can no longer pump fake, bring the ball back down, lose the football and have the play considered an incomplete pass.

The tuck rule has long been a thorn in the side of every NFL defense, but come September, defenses will rejoice without the tuck rule holding them back.


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