Walt Coleman’s view on the infamous Tuck Rule play may lighten the dislike some Raiders fans might have for the NFL referee.
Coleman officiated the 2001 divisional round playoff game between the Raiders and the Patriots in which Charles Woodson’s apparent strip-sack of Tom Brady became an incomplete pass upon his further review.
Coleman talked extensively about the Tuck Rule play Friday with Tadd Haislop of Sporting News after recent comments by former Raiders CEO Amy Trask brought up the incident.
“Saw a reference to Walt Coleman as the ‘dean’ of officials – not the word that comes to my mind – you feeling me Raider Nation,” Trask wrote on Twitter two weeks ago. “And before anyone gets all het (sic) up, this is the fun of sports – we have to get over lots of things in life, we can hold onto sports moments.”
Coleman saw the play with his own eyes. He saw it in the video replay soon afterward. And now he reportedly sees it through a lens of levity. When asked about Trask’s comments, Coleman reportedly burst into laughter.
“It comes up all the time,” Coleman told Sporting News about the Tuck Rule play. “That kind of discussion has come up, and there’s Raider people now that are in other organizations all around the NFL. I understand the Raider fans. It was the rule, but you know, don’t confuse me with the facts.”
The rule Coleman mentioned was eliminated in 2013, producing an absolute gem of a tweet by the Raiders.
Coleman said he is constantly reminded of the play, mostly by fans — who are, in turn, reminded of it on TV.
“Every time they get a game and Brady’s there and you have a pass fumble play, the networks always bring it up, and they always show the replay,” said Coleman, who is entering his 29th season as an NFL official.
Coleman recounted a Sporting News story that same year in which late Raiders owner Al Davis threw shade at him over the figure skating scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
“I have (the magazine),” Coleman said of the Sporting News issue. “They were talking to (Davis) about the winter Olympics, when this French judge cheated because she owed a favor to the Russians. They asked Al Davis about it, and the quote in Sporting News, it said, ‘I had no idea that Walt Coleman was from France.’”
Coleman chortled at that point, according to Haislop.
“When you do what we do you have to have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously, because you’re going to have people who disagree with you and get upset,” Coleman said. “That’s just the nature of it.”
Still, Trask’s thoughts on the matter more than 15 years later intrigued Coleman — who added that he wants to hear more from her and agreed with the Davis’ erstwhile left-hand lady about the levity involved.
“To me, that’s entertainment, it’s funny,” Coleman said. “That’s the way I take it. When I go talk to civic clubs and so forth, that’s the kind of stuff people love to hear about.”
However, it remains in the realm of stuff Raiders fans regularly refuse to discuss at great length.
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