Oh what a mess this is and right before the Super Bowl. Would a NFL head coach sabotage his team in a Super Bowl?! No way, right?! Well according to former WR Tim Brown, Bill Callahan did. Even Jerry Rice is supporting former Raider teammate on his comments. Bill Callahan has now responded to Brown’s claims.
Check out the full story and Callahan’s statement after the jump…
According to ESPN:
According to receiver Tim Brown, Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers thrashed the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII because Oakland was “sabotaged” by Bill Callahan, the team’s head coach at the time, who changed the game plan at the last minute.
Brown’s comments to SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday were earlier reported by ProFootballTalk.com, which was provided audio of his remarks.
Brown said that when the Raiders got the game plan on the Monday before the Super Bowl, it was a run-heavy attack taking advantage of Oakland’s size advantage on the offensive line. However, Brown said Callahan scrapped the plan on Friday to the shock of the team.
“We all called it sabotage … because Callahan and 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.”
Callahan released a statement Tuesday night saying he “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegations.
“Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans, is flat-out wrong,” Callahan said in the statement. “I think it would be in the best interests of all, including the game America loves, that these allegations be retracted immediately.”
Gruden had been the coach of the Raiders from 1998-2001, and Callahan was his offensive coordinator. When Gruden moved on to Tampa for the 2002 season, Callahan was made head coach, and the two wound up in the Super Bowl against each other.
Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, the Raiders’ other starting receiver in the Super Bowl and now an ESPN analyst, backed Brown on his claims in comments to ESPN’s “NFL Live” on Tuesday. He said the players found it “very unusual” to change everything at the last minute.
Rice said the Raiders’ game plan did change on the Friday before the Super Bowl and the team was surprised by that, “because you worked all week long on running the football.” On Friday, Callahan put in a new plan that had the team throwing the ball more than 60 times.