When Justin Bieber asked people on TikTok to tell him something honest, few could have predicted that one response would shock NFL fans. However, that’s exactly what happened after Tom Brady decided to share a secret about the 2001 AFC Divisional Round playoff, the year when he won his first of seven Super Bowl titles.

Brady responded to Bieber’s challenge by saying that the “Tuck Rule” game against the Raiders – “might have been a fumble”. Brady knew the shock and anger his admission might cause, so he asked everyone to keep it “on the down-low”.

The Controversial Tuck Ruling

Brady and the Patriots played against the Raiders in the 2001 AFC Divisional Round playoff and they were on the brink of losing when Brady fumbled late in the last quarter. The Raiders recovered the ball, and the game seemed as good as over. 

However, officials came to Brady’s rescue. They claimed that the quarterback was actually trying to tuck the ball into his body and that he didn’t fumble. 

Barely anyone knew about the “tuck rule” before Brady’s fumble, but once officials ruled that the Patriots quarterback had done nothing wrong and overturned their initial ruling, everyone became experts on the matter.

What made that tuck ruling even more controversial was that it actually changed the game and the course of the 2001 NFL season. It might have even impacted Tom Brady’s entire career.

After the initial fumble ruling was overturned, the Patriots were awarded a field goal which they scored from. That took the game to overtime, and the Patriots and Brady won both the Raiders match and Super Bowl XXXVI. That was Brady’s first Super Bowl win. 

What If?

However, it is easy to see how Brady’s career could have been, so different if the fumble decision stood. At the time, Brady was Drew Bledsoe’s substitute. However, due to Bledsoe’s near-fatal injury and two below-par seasons, Brady replaced him as the starter for the Patriots.

If the Patriots lost their game against the Raiders, Brady might have once again been demoted to the bench and Bledsoe promoted to the starting quarterback berth. In other words, Brady’s career could have been much less illustrious.  

Raiders fans were always saying that the fumble ruling should have stood, and they were pretty outraged by Brady’s admission. The Raiders’ official TikTok channel replied with “I’m sorry what” to the video Brady posted, while the NFL account said that it was Tom Brady who said it and not them.

As soon as he noticed that the video went viral, Brady tried to keep things under control by saying that he used “might” in his admission and that probably officials made the correct call in 2001.

However, for Raiders fans, the damage was already done. At least they got to hear Brady admitting what they have been saying for twenty years now.