This is one of the most notorious games in NFL history because it ignited a dynasty. The Patriots played the Raiders on a very snowy day in Foxborough. The conditions were so bad that the Raiders were barely visible on the field in their white uniforms. Oakland led into the fourth quarter of the divisional playoff game but there was a twist on the horizon. Tom Brady took possession in the fourth quarter but he fumbled (via WBUR).
However, the Patriots invoked the little-known Tuck Rule. Essentially, the referee ruled that it wasn’t a fumble because Brady had brought the ball back into his body and was in a throwing motion when Charles Woodson hit him. This was a moment that gained notoriety over time because of the Patriots’ reputation for cheating. In 2013, the NFL owners voted the Tuck Rule out because it needlessly caused controversy.
Every win counts for a team like Detroit. The Lions came into 2021 in dire form but they couldn’t catch a break. This came to a head against the Baltimore Ravens when the officials needlessly ruined their chance of victory. Lamar Jackson threw an incomplete pass after taking a snap that appeared to come after time expired. Then, Justin Tucker ambled onto the field to kick the winning, NFL record 66-yard field goal.
It was crushing for the Lions because they fought hard. They were so close to their first win of the season but it was snatched away from them. Head Coach Dan Campbell revealed his frustration with the NFL. “There’s nothing I can say to that because it’s the same thing,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “Tomorrow you’ll get an apology and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s life and that’s the hand we were dealt.”
This game saw arguably one of the most egregious officiating errors in NFL history. The Saints played the L.A. Rams in the NFC Championship game. The stakes were high because the teams were within touching distance of each other in the fourth quarter. Then, Rams’ corner Nickell Robey-Coleman led with his helmet hit Tommylee Revis. Everybody waited for a flag that never came (via Bleacher Report).
The Saints led 23-20 and would have been able to see the game out with under two minutes left. But instead, the Rams reclaimed possession. They sent the game to overtime with a field goal before a second kick won the game. Later, the NFL admitted that the officials messed up. Then, the Rams suffered a blowout loss against the Patriots. This rubbed salt into New Orleans’ wounds because they may have given the Pats a better game.