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VP of officiating likes the Tuck Rule



Contrasting to his predecessor’s opinion, vice-president of officiating Carl Johnson has defended the rule that, until the recent arrival of “the process of the catch,” was considered one of the sport’s worst.

It is the dreaded Tuck Rule, added to the rulebook in 1999, and most notably implemented in a 2002 playoff game that turned impending elimination into second life for the Patriots on the road to their Super Bowl victory.

Mike Pereira previously held the title until he retired last year to become the rules expert on the Fox Sports staff. Pereira held the view that the Tuck Rule should remain, but changed his tune this past week, now that he no longer works for the league.

Even with Pereira’s change of heart, Johnson ensures that the Tuck Rule has a continuity of support from the officiating management. On the NFL Network “Official Review” segment (video), Johnson says the Competition Committee will have the ultimate decision on the fate of the Tuck Rule, but defended its use:

It would be a cheap fumble if the guy who’s throwing the ball attempts to bring it back or is trying to tuck it. I like the rule the way it is.

It will be interesting if the Competition Committee considers the opinion of the former over the current head of officiating when they review changes to the rulebook in the offseason.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)