Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown made a bold statement on Monday when he accused former Raider coach Bill Callahan of sabotaging the team in Super Bowl XXXVII. Apparently Brown wasn't the only player who felt that way. Jerry Rice was also on that Raider team and he agreed with Brown and wasn't sure why else Callahan would make last-second changes to the game plan.
Brown said Callahan hated the Raiders organization and wanted to help his friend Jon Gruden win a Super Bowl. The main reason for the claim was Callahan's decision to install a new game plan on the Friday before the Super Bowl. After preparing to run the ball against the Buccaneers the first two days of practice, Callahan changed the game plan to throw the ball 60 times.
Silver and Black Pride : 'Damning allegations'
Appearing on ESPN's NFL Live, Rice confirmed the game plan was changed on Friday and said he was very surprised Callahan waited to the last second to make the change. He said he and Brown discussed the decision and despite being veterans of the NFL, neither had witnessed a similar decision so soon before a game.
The Hall of Fame receiver echoed his former teammate's assertion that Callahan did not like the team.
"For some reason - and I don't know why - Bill Callahan did not like me," Rice professed. "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.'"
Rice also said the change could have led to an issue with starting center Barrett Robbins. Robbins went AWOL the night before the Super Bowl and did not play in the game. Rice said Robbins was frustrated with the changes and thinks it could have played a role in him going missing the Saturday before the Super Bowl.
"With Barrett, he was frustrated, like, ‘You cannot do this to us at the last second.' Maybe that's why he decided to not show up," Rice said.
Despite their suspicions, Rice said he and Brown never approached Callahan to ask his intentions behind the changes.
Rice acknowledged the gravity of the accusations and his follow-up comments. He told ESPN, "I know exactly what I'm saying." Given Rice's stature in the league's history, his statement carries some real heft to it.
Even though Rice may agree with Brown, some of their former Raider teammates do not. Former Oakland linebacker Bill Romanowski called Brown "delusional." Romanowski said no matter how Callahan felt toward the Raider organization, there is no way he would give up the opportunity to become a Super Bowl winning coach.
Former Oakland quarterback Rick Gannon, who completed 22 of 44 pass attempts against Tampa Bay, shared a similar sentiment to Romanowski. Gannon said there was too much in it for Callahan to intentionally sabotage himself. An unnamed Raider from the Super Bowl team said there was no sabotage involved and that the Raiders were simply outplayed and outcoached by Tampa Bay, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen.