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Sunday NFL Thoughts: NFL Network’s special on the Tuck Rule is a blast from the past

And other thoughts of Patriots history.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

1. The NFL Network is premiering a new documentary titled The Tuck Rule as part of the NFL Films series The Timeline. It will be broadcast on the NFL Network on Thursday, October 5th, immediately following the game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.

This is a fitting time to show the documentary because it’s after a game between two teams that benefit the most from the tuck rule. The Patriots clearly went on to win the Super Bowl and start a dynasty, while the Buccaneers were able to acquire the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders in the wake of the game and win the Super Bowl the following 2002-03 season.

The documentary focuses on Raiders players and fans and how this game still haunts their mind, with additional clips from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady filmed years ago. If you’re a fan of NFL history and appreciate how that one play call changed the future of three franchises, you’ll enjoy the documentary.

Any discussion of the tuck rule needs to include footage of the rule going against the Patriots earlier in the season and, well, I’ll just leave it at that.

2. Oliver Thomas’ thoughts on the documentary:

The Timeline: The Tuck Rule is, in a word, eerie. From the soundtrack selection, to the Al Davis-NFL friction, to the grainy footage from the stands, to the fact Walt Coleman has yet to officiate another Raiders game – the documentary keeps all the tension from the snowy night of Jan. 19, 2002 fresh. A game – and 12-minute replay review – that sent two franchises in different directions. And a collision between two Michigan products who once sat a couple lockers from each other is what started it.”

And Marima’s thoughts:

This program should be re-named "The Bitter, Victimized Raiders," because the eerie music, the tone, the imagery all support that viewpoint.

Raiders players blame the Tuck Rule for the team's downward spiral, and for not getting a ring they 'expected.' Truth is, Raiders made it to the Super Bowl the next year but faced their former coach who knew all of their plays. That situation is all on Al Davis, not the Tuck Rule. He's the one who traded John Gruden to the Buccaneers in reaction to that loss.

Glaring omission: No mention of the Roughing the Passer game for balance, or the fact that referee Ben Dreith was never assigned to officiate another Patriots game afterward.

Mike Periera's money quote of the show: "They still send me the picture of Charles Woodson and they said [Brady] had stopped his throwing motion. Well guess what, the still shot can make anybody look like they've stopped their throwing motion. It's a still shot."

3. I’m excited for the documentaries that are produced when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick retire. They should just film the two of them in a room, with maybe a Who’s Line Is It Anyways rotation of a third former player, discussing the 50 most important games of the Patriots dynasty. I’d watch that on repeat forever and I feel like it’s not an unreasonable film series to expect.

4. While we’re digging into history, NESN’s Zack Cox pointed out that the Patriots and Panthers game will feature Tom Brady and Julius Peppers, two players that faced off against each other in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It’s impressive that Peppers is still playing so many years down the road.

After watching the documentary with Charles Woodson, who played through the 2015 season (and was named Second Team All Pro at the age of 39), I’m going to appreciate and enjoy watching the twilight of all of these veteran players that have been constants throughout the Patriots dynasty.

5. Tom Brady ranks 10th all time for pass attempts and passing yards after the age of 40 and he should continue to climb the ranks this year. His touchdown passes rank 8th and his passer rating is 1st. He should reach 4th on the list in most categories by the end of the year, behind just Brett Favre, Warren Moon, and Vinny Testaverde, all of whom started roughly two seasons worth of games after the age of 40.