Former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown suggested in two interviews Tuesday that then-head coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the team's chances in their Super Bowl XXXVII matchup against the Buccaneers in January 2003. As if that wasn't enough, former teammate Jerry Rice, the Hall of Fame receiver, agreed with him.
Brown said in two interviews -- first on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Saturday and then on "Pro Football Talk" on NBC Sports Network Tuesday, that he believes Callahan purposely tried to diminish the Raiders' chances against the Bucs by completely changing the game plan from what the team had practiced during the week. The Raiders lost, 48-21.
Brown suggested on Sirius that Callahan told the team the Monday before the game that they would run the ball as much as possible, but that by Friday, Callahan "blew this thing up." He suggested Callahan's friendship with Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who had been the Raiders' coach, played a part in the decision.
"We all called it sabotage . . . because Callahan and Gruden were good friends," Brown said. "And Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, you know, hated the Raiders . . . He hated the Raiders so much that he would sabotage the Super Bowl so his friend can win the Super Bowl. That's hard to say, because you can't prove it. But the facts are what they are, that less than 36 hours before the game we changed our game plan."
Brown backed up his contention Tuesday on "PFT," saying, "Why would you change the game plan so close to the game if you know that the negative repercussions can cost you the game?"
Asked about Brown's remarks at the Senior Bowl practice Tuesday in Mobile, Ala., Callahan declined to comment. Later in the day, he released a statement.
“While I fully understand a competitive professional football player’s disappointment when a game’s outcome doesn’t go his team’s way, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last 24 hours,” Callahan said in a statement. “To leave no doubt, I
categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.”
Rich Gannon, who quarterbacked the Raiders in that Super Bowl, said on Sirius, "In terms of Bill Callahan, let me just say this: He was a good football coach, he was a good man. We all wanted to win."
Rice, on ESPN, agreed with Brown: "In a way, maybe because he didn't like the Raiders. He decided, 'Maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.' "With Reuters