Well, it was a good run. For a while, I really thought we were all going to get away with it. The end was in sight, things were winding down, and nobody was the wiser. But alas, just like that, all is now dust.
That Tom Brady has finally been exposed for the complete fraud that he is isn't all that surprising at the end of the day. After all, you can't have a string of success and accolades a mile long without resorting to cheap tactics, dirty tricks, and outright cheating, and cheaters never win. But what is surprising, to me at least, that Ray Lewis, of all people, would be the one to finally figure it all out. Ray isn't exactly known for reporting what he sees , and has pled ignorance on more than one occasion, so that he was the one to see through all the schadenfreude and deep-seated league-wide coverups leads me to believe that I underestimated Baltimore's most upstanding and celebrated sports icon. Hats off to you, Ray.
Lewis took to the airwaves today as he told Sirius XM radio the shocking and uncensored truth behind the greatest quarterback in the game today. What he had to say was pretty damning.
"When we -- the first time we created something called a tuck rule, it's the only reason we know -- I'm just being honest -- the only reason we know who Tom Brady is, because of a tuck rule." Lewis said. "There's no such thing as a tuck rule! If the ball is in your hand, and I knock it out your hand, whether it's going backwards, forwards, lateral, sideways, however it's coming out, that's a freaking fumble."
"But guess what we created? We created a freaking tuck rule!"
Ray, being the upright, law-abiding citizen that he is, is all class and positive demeanor, so he left it at that. He opted not. to get too much further into it, other than several additional minutes of straight up screaming into the phone about the rules. But all that is just extra. Lewis has blown the conspiracy wide open, and so we may as well all come clean. Sorry, Patriots fans. It's time.
There is one - and only one - reason that Tom Brady is any good. And that reason is The Tuck Rule.
Those looking to defend the fraudulence that soaks Brady to the core will be quick to point out that the Tuck Rule was instituted in 1999, a full year before Tommy B was even drafted. But that argument rings completely hollow, as it represents only the first in what has been a long, surgically precise series of league-generated manipulations to ensure that Brady remained at the top of the mountain for as long as possible. Let's just get this over with.
Yes, the rule went into effect in 1999. But what was Brady's draft number the following year? 199. And which team just happened to have the 199th pick in the draft? The New England Patriots. Brady to New England wasn't foresight on anybody's part. It wasn't a coach seeing intangibles and potential over poor combine performance and mediocre college stats. No; the Patriots were just lucky enough to have the pick that was married to the rule that was implemented to get Tom Brady where the league needed him to be. That makes Bill Belichick a fraud as well - but that's a tale for another day.
And while the Tuck Rule was in place for two full years before Brady became relevant in the NFL, when is the first instance of the rule being enforced? September 23, 2001, in a matchup between the Patriots and Jets in which the rule overturned a Vinnie Testaverde strip-sack in the waning seconds of the first half. The Jets would get a field goal out of that non-fumble drive, and then go on to win the game in overtime. Also significant about that game? It was the game in which Mo Lewis, rumored to be the third cousin twice removed on the distant aunt's side to none other than Ray Lewis himself, delivered a hit to Drew Bledsoe in the fourth quarter - AFTER the Tuck Rule had been called - that caused the New England quarterback severe internal bleeding. Had that rule not been in place, Richard Seymour falls on that Testaverde fumble, the field goal never happens, the score is different, and the Patriots are likely running a different play than the one that caused that Mo Lewis hit.
But the hit comes, and Drew goes down And who comes in for him? None other than Tom Brady. No Tuck Rule, no field goal. No field goal, no Jets lead. No Jets lead, no Bledsoe hit. No Bledsoe hit, no Brady.
At this point, the league monitored Brady's progress slowly and with meticulous care. They didn't want to just hand him the Lombardi Trophy, as that would look far too suspicious and possibly draw attention to the myriad other illegal activities the Patriots were performing as they pulled out any and all stops to get a competitive edge. Rather, they let the young Brady struggle, grow slowly into his newfound starting role and experience mixed results. They did, however, successfully rig the first ever Brady vs. Indianapolis showdown, a 44-13 Patriots victory, to ensure that the rivalry gained traction and the other quarterback they were grooming to bring in revenue, Peyton Manning, could fully craft the narrative of being the NFL's golden-armed champion who could do no wrong. For the most part, however, the powers that be stayed out of the way, letting Brady struggle his way through a rocky start before finally finding his groove in October of that same year ("Brady is unbeatable in October will be a storyline for years to come!" they all exclaimed. "Just think of the press!"), where a victory over the San Diego Chargers sparked a 9-2 finish for the Brady-led Patriots, good enough for an 11-5 record and the second seed in the AFC. Ensuring that the Patriots received that bye was crucial, as it gave the league a full two weeks to figure out how to best get the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
As it turns out, all of their planning was for naught, as sometimes, the football gods just smile down upon you.
The AFC Divisional game was played in the middle of a blinding snowstorm, placing yards at a premium and points as a rarity. Oakland led at halftime, and was leading 13-3 into the fourth quarter after two second half field goals. Brady was able to rush for a touchdown (a little convenient, don't you think?) to bring the score to three points, and then the defense was able to give the offense the ball back by forcing a quick Raiders punt. With only minutes to play, the Patriots marched down the field looking to at the very least tie it up. With 2:06 left, Oakland inexplicably called a timeout, a call which left a number of people scratching their heads. And while we may have not have known what was going on, Brady most certainly did. Seeing cornerback Eric Allen standing close to the New England sideline, Brady made sure to speak loudly - a little too loudly - to offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss. Allen heard Brady call a 3x1 quick slants route, and quickly rushed over to his sideline to tell his teammates the news. Brady had set the trap, and Allen, the Raiders, and the rest of the world, was ensnared.
With the Patriots slightly out of field goal range, Brady came to the line and eyed the coverage. Seeing Charles Woodson close to the line of scrimmage, he nods knowingly (an action which you can see if you watch the instant replay oh-so-slowly). At the snap, Brady dropped back to pass, not deviating from his slant play in the slightest. As Woodson charged in, Brady timed his pumping motion to perfection, bringing the ball forward and down just as Woodson collided with his right side and knocked the ball loose. The Raiders recovered, and fans everywhere thought that that was that.
The call was under review.
Referee Walt Coleman jogged to the sideline and stuck his head into the booth, where he heard only three words: "It Is Time." As television cameras everywhere showed what clearly looked to be a fumble, suggesting that the odds of overturning this one were slim, Walt Coleman took some time to warm himself in the glowing embrace of the NFL's hot iron fist. When the appropriate amount of time had passed, Coleman jogged back out onto the field and made what is now the infamous reversal. The Tuck Rule had come full circle. The Patriots would go on to win the game in overtime on field goals kicked by Adam Vinatieri with a ball implanted with small but powerful magnets designed to draw it directly through the metal goalposts, and the rest is history. Brady would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, marry the world's most beautiful woman, and achieve every possible accolade a quarterback to could hope for.
But it's all a sham. None of it is real. Tommy B might as well be made of glass.
If the NFL hadn't installed the Tuck Rule a full two years before Brady took the field with every intention of using it when it mattered most to launch him into superstardom, then Brady would likely have been nothing more than a career backup who never got to sniff the field. He never would have married Giselle, never would have gone on to win three Super Bowls, never would have achieved anything, and would probably be selling insurance alongside the six quarterbacks drafted before him in 2000. But this league knows when they have a marketable product, and they took one look at that cleft chin and baby blue eyes and knew they had themselves a cash cow. So in a move that shows tremendous foresight and mercurial business acumen, the NFL implemented a ridiculous rule designed solely and exclusively to generate the millions of dollars that only a prettyboy quarterback can rake in. A rags-to-riches success story for the ages, the American Dream personified. And to make it sweeter, the NFL was able to pit him against an all-American bona fide first rounder from strong football pedigree to further pad their pockets. Yes, life at the top is good. And it's the Tuck Rule that made it so.
That the NFL has always been about the almighty dollar was never a secret. How far they were willing to go to make that money, however, was. But not anymore. Ray Lewis, you're a hero.
It's something we have all tried to hide for so many years, but now the secret is out. It's just a matter of time before the FBI intervenes, unravels the whole scandal, and heads start to roll. If I open my Brooklyn apartment window this cold January eve, I believe I'll be able to detect the faint whiff of burning paper as the underlings down at 180 Park Avenue scramble to incinerate the evidence before the swift hammer of justice breaks down the door and brings the disgusting embarrassment that is Tom Brady's actual life to the surface.
So the Patriots may have beaten Ray Lewis's Ravens this past weekend, but Ray Lewis just beat the Patriots. It's over, everyone. We have all been exposed, none more than Tom Brady. Everything he has, he owes to this one rule, the rule designed for no other reason that to prop you up like that paper champion that you are.
It's a sad day for Patriots Nation. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to step out for a while. I'm all out of tin foil, and I need to make myself a new hat.