The LA Rams Are Proposing An NFL Rule Change to Prevent Tom Brady From Exploiting Another Loophole

In addition to his numerous changes to the NFL’s record book, Tom Brady has had a significant effect on the rule book. The mere mention of the word “Tuck Rule” brings to mind his infamous moment from a 2002 playoff game against Oakland. Now, if the Los Angeles Rams have their way, the 42-year-old quarterback could inadvertently spawn another change to the NFL rules.

What did Tom Brady do to the Los Angeles Rams?

Tom Brady faces down the Los Angeles Rams
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for an open receiver during a regular season game against the Los Angeles Rams in November 2020 | Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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The Los Angeles Rams are still fuming from an incident that took place in Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season, when they played Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Late in the game, the Rams held a 24-17 lead, and the Buccaneers were driving for a tying touchdown. On third-and-10 from his own 34, Tom Brady had his pass batted back to him. He caught the ball on the deflection and threw a second pass which Mike Evans caught for an eight-yard gain. This was, of course, a penalty for illegal forward pass, and the officials noticed.

But this left Rams head coach Sean McVay in an awkward position. If he accepted the penalty, it would set the Bucs back only five yards, but it would reset third down — essentially handing them an extra down. If they declined, the second pass would count, leaving the Bucs with a fourth-and-two.

In the grand scheme of things, the odd series of events made little difference. Even though the Rams declined, the Buccaneers chose to punt on fourth-and-two. Los Angeles went on to win the game 27-24 on a late field goal. Still, the Rams didn’t forget about that moment.

What is the ‘Tom Brady rule’?

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Only a select few people are notorious enough to have an entire rule named after themselves. If the Los Angeles Rams have their way, Tom Brady could end up on that list.

This May, the NFL owners will vote on 13 proposals for rule changes. The Rams have proposed the following: if a quarterback throws a second pass from behind the line of scrimmage, the team will be penalized with a loss of down.

A similar rule is already in place for a similar situation. If a quarterback makes a forward pass from beyond the line of scrimmage, that does result in a loss of down for the offense. If the Rams’ rule change proposal goes through, it will create some consistency in the NFL’s rule book.

Will the LA Rams get what they want?

There is a steep hill to climb for this and every other proposed rule change. According to the NFL’s own website, all rule changes need approval from at least 24 owners — a 75% vote — to pass.

The Rams are not the only team looking for change. The Baltimore Ravens have made two proposals: to introduce a “sky judge” to the officiating staff and to implement their radical “spot-and-choose” overtime procedure. The Buffalo Bills have proposed to fix the league’s unbalanced hiring procedures by prohibiting coaching interviews until after the conference championship games.

Not all of the changes would be quite as radical, however. The Kansas City Chiefs have proposed a change to the NFL’s jersey numbering system. If it passes, wide receivers could wear single-digit numbers, and running backs, linebackers and defensive backs could wear numbers 1-19.