Tim Brown calls out Bill Callahan
ESPN.com news services
January 23, 2013
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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.

"Why would you wait to the last second to change the game plan?" Rice said. 

He echoed Brown's theory that Callahan might have been willing to let Gruden win the game.

"I was very surprised that he waited 'til the last second, and I think a lot of the players they were surprised also, so in a way maybe because he didn't like the Raiders he decided, 'Hey look, maybe we should sabotage just a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one,'" Rice said.

Brown tried to backtrack some from the word "sabotage" Tuesday in an interview with "The Ben and Skin Show" on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM but still implied the facts of the situation leave many questions about Callahan's loyalty at the time to the Raiders.
"I don't think he would have sabotaged the Super Bowl but ... this is the problem we have, because of his relationship with Gruden, because of his disdain for the Raider organization; that's what makes people get to that conclusion," Brown said Tuesday.
Brown said "sabotage" was the word that was thrown around the Raiders' locker room. 
This isn't the first time Brown has made these accusations against Callahan. The receiver also made these claims four years ago on the morning of the Super Bowl.
"I've been talking about this for 10 years," Brown said in his interview with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
Brown stressed that he was expressing his opinion and had no proof that Callahan intentionally doomed his own team.
"You know, 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," Brown said. "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," he said.
Brown said center Barret Robbins, who disappeared from the team in the days before the game and did not play, begged Callahan not to change the game plan.

"Barret Robbins begged coach Callahan, 'Do not do this to me. I don't have time to make my calls, to get my calls ready. You can't do this to me on Friday. We haven't practiced full speed, we can't get this done,'" Brown said.
Brown wouldn't correlate Robbins' absence from the team with Callahan's decision, however.
"I'm not saying one had anything to do with the other. All I'm saying is those are the facts of what happened Super Bowl week. So our ire wasn't towards Barret Robbins, it was towards Bill Callahan. Because we feel as if he wouldn't have did what he did, then Barret wouldn't have done what he did," Brown said.
Brown said "everybody knew Barret was unstable anyway" but the team couldn't fathom Callahan would change plans at the last minute.
"So to put him in that situation -- not that he was putting him in that situation -- 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," he said.
Rice confirmed that Robbins was surprised by the change in the game plan and "he said you can't do that to us now, and maybe that was one of the reasons why he ended up going over to Mexico and being a no-show for the game."
Brown said in his interview with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that he made his comments, not to disparage Callahan, but to defend Robbins.
Jon Ritchie, the starting fullback for the Raiders in that game and a former ESPN NFL analyst told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen in a text that he agrees with Brown's comments.

"I've said it for years. What we practiced heavily during the week is not what we ran in that game. Could have been due to Barrett's absence. It was never explained to me. I believe I said it on the record every year we talked about the Super Bowl (when he was with ESPN for four years). I always thought it would get sensational like this," Ritchie wrote in the text.
However, another former Raiders offensive player who didn't want to be named, disagreed with Brown.
"No, he...
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