A little over nine years ago, the "tuck rule" entered the popular football lexicon, thanks to a pivotal, controversial call in the 2001 divisional playoff game between the Patriots and Raiders. In Week 9, the rule reared its ugly head again in the Steelers-Giants contest.
Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass in the second quarter Sunday, tied 7-7, when Osi Umenyiora got a hand on him, knocking the ball loose in what initially seemed like an incomplete pass; Roethlisberger, thinking the play was dead, showed no urgency in trying to get to the loose ball, which was shockingly allowed to remain live while Michael Boley scooped it up and returned it 70 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The referees ruled it a fumble by Roethlisberger, which sparked a number of angry and baffled comments on Twitter.
The NFL rule book states: 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.
First, judge the play for yourself:
Now, see the reaction from Twitter: