Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown suggested on SiriusXM NFL Radio Saturday that his former coach Bill Callahan purposely cost the Oakland Raiders the Lombardi Trophy.
Brown hinted his former Callahan "sabotaged" their team by changing their offensive game plan just days before they faced off against Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Buccaneers won 48-21.
"We get our game plan for victory on Monday, and the game plan says we're gonna run the ball," Brown said, according to Pro Football Talk, which was provided with audio of the interview. "We averaged 340 (pounds) on the offensive line, they averaged 280 (on the defensive line). We're all happy with that, everybody is excited. (We) tell Charlie Garner, 'Look, you're not gonna get too many carries, but at the end of the day we're gonna get a victory. Tyrone Wheatley, Zack Crockett, let's get ready to blow this thing up.'"
But the former wide receiver said Callahan -- who later joined the Jets as their assistant coach/offensive line coach from 2008-2011 -- "blew this thing up" by changing their run-heavy game plan to a "throw the ball 60 times" attack on the Friday before the Super Bowl.
"We all called it sabotage," Brown said, just days before the 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XXXVII. "...Because Callahan and (Tampa Bay coach Jon) Gruden were good friends. And Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, you know, hated the Raiders. You know, only came because Gruden made him come. Literally walked off the field on us a couple of times during the season when he first got there, the first couple years. So really he had become someone who was part of the staff but we just didn’t pay him any attention. Gruden leaves, he becomes the head coach."
Brown, however, said he couldn't definitively say Callahan was guilty of sabotage.
"Can you really say that? That can be my opinion, but I can't say for a fact that that's what his plan was to sabotage the Super Bowl. 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. And we go into that game absolutely knowing that we have no shot. That the only shot we had if Tampa Bay didn’t show up."
Brown also said the changes had a direct impact on center Barret Robbins, who "begged Coach Callahan, ‘Do not do this to me. I don’t have time to make my calls, to get my calls ready.'"
Robbins disappeared without taking his depression medication in the days before the game and did not play. He later was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
"Our ire wasn't towards Barret Robbins, it was towards Bill Callahan," said Brown. "Because we feel as if he wouldn't have did what he did, then Barret wouldn't have done what he did.
"Now, should Barret have manned up and tried to do it? Absolutely. But everybody knew Barret was unstable anyway. ...But for that decision to be made without consulting the players the Friday before the Super Bowl? I played 27 years of football. The coaches never changed the game plan the Friday before the game. I'm not trying to point fingers at anybody here, all I'm saying is those are the facts of what happened. So people look at Barret and they say all these things, but every player in that locker room will tell you, 'You'd better talk to Bill Callahan.' Because if not for Coach Callahan, I don't think we're in that situation."