Now there are bad calls that may play small roles in a games eventual outcome, and there are calls like this one that not only decide the game but also alter our view of the rules altogeher. Late in the fourth quarter of the second round of the playoff game between the Raiders and Patriots with the Raiders up 13-10, Charles Woodson's sack fumble on a young Tom Brady was just that, a fumble. Yet somehow the referees overturned their original call of a fumble and instead decided it was an incomplete pass giving Patriots the ball and helping them eventually tie the game to force OT where they eventually prevailed. The first title of the Belichick/Brady era came two games later. The Raiders ended up firing coach Jon Gruden and hiring Bill Calahan who had playoff success but never got the Super Bowl win the team's talent warranted.
What could've been: The Raiders definitely had their franchise affected a ton by the play, as in our opinion an AFC championship appearance would make them hard pressed to release Gruden and allow him to go the Bucs. Would they win it all that year? Highly plausible considering the Steelers and Rams still fell to the Pats. We're more likely to suggest that a longer tenure for Gruden and at least one ring for the black and silver with him running the show. As for the Patriots, no title that year probably still meant Brady would take over Bledsoe's job the following year. The Patriots probably still walk away with the other two Super Bowl wins (spygate FTW!) and Tom Brady might have used the early playoff loss as motivation to be even better in the post season.