Originally Posted by ELeBaron1960
Watch the Tom Brady play. He does the exact same thing. He is pulling the ball in to avoid the hit. The rules were changed between our game and that one.
At the time of the 81 title game there was no "tuck rule" that was introduced in 1999. This is the rule Ordinarily, if the quarterback drops or loses the football while he is bringing the ball forward in a passing motion, and the ball touches the ground, it is considered an incomplete pass. If the quarterback drops or loses the football at any other time, it is considered a fumble, as if any other player had dropped it.
The tuck rule is an exception to this rule. It applies if the quarterback brings his arm forward in a passing motion, but then changes his mind and tries to keep hold of the football rather than making a pass. In this situation, if the quarterback loses the ball while stopping his passing motion or bringing the ball back to his body, it is still considered a forward pass (and thus an incomplete pass if the ball hits the ground)
Unfortunately on the video that's posted we don't have the benefit of slow motion to carefully analyze the play but the Tom Brady tuck play looked different than what happened in the 81 title game. From what I can see White never made an attempt to pass the ball then suddenly changed his mind. He had the ball up prepared to throw but when he saw the rush coming he brought the ball down quickly to protect it and got hit and the ball was dislodged as he was going to the ground.
On the Brady tuck play his arm went forward in a clear passing motion and got hit from behind during that motion and lost the ball. At the time the ref called it an incomplete pass. Brady never got the ball back to his body but White did and lost the ball as he was going down.