The NFL's Tuck Rule has been one of the more controversial rules since it was created in 1999 and especially since the infamous call in the 2002 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. The rule has given offenses what basically amounts to a mulligan and makes steam come out of defensive coordinators' ears. And the rule, or lack of its use rather, struck again in Week 9 as the Steelers faced the Giants in New Jersey.
First, the tuck rule itself:
NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. 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.
In the first half of the Steelers Sunday afternoon game against the Giants, Ben Roethlisberger looked like he was clearly moving the ball forward when he lost the ball. He was so sure that the play was going to be called dead that he just stood still and waited for the whistle. Meanwhile linebacker Michael Boley picked up the loose ball and proceeded to run it back 70 yards for a touchdown, which counted, giving the Giants a 14-7 lead after the extra point.
Don't take my word for it, though, watch for yourself:
While the Tuck Rule isn't the most popular of rules, it is a rule, and if there is a play in which a referee uses it, it's this one.
Steelers fans will likely be very unhappy if this call is the difference between a win and a loss on Sunday.