[Editor’s note: Former Raiders receiver Tim Brown appeared on Tuesday’s Pro Football Talk (5:00 p.m. ET, NBSCN) to elaborate on recent comments regarding his belief that a late decision to change the game plan prior to Super Bowl XXXVII hampered Oakland’s ability to beat the Buccaneers. The full transcript of his discussion with Erik Kuselias, the entirety of which will be broadcast on tonight’s edition of The Erik Kuselias Show (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., NBC Sports Radio Network), appears below.]
EK: Tim, you said the facts are what they are, less than 36 hours before the game we changed our game plan and we go in to that game absolutely knowing we have no shot. Are you saying that Bill Callahan changed the game plan to give your team less of a chance to beat the Buccaneers?
TB: I’m not necessarily saying he did that for that reason, but it happened. The game plan changed and no matter what we said we couldn’t get him to rethink his thought process. . . .
EK: You understand there’s obviously a difference between making a poor coaching decision, even a colossally poor coaching decision, and throwing the game. Is this a colossally poor coach decision or are you saying that he was trying not to win the game?
TB: Well, this is what I’m saying, we have history here and the history doesn’t speak well for him. So I think if it wasn’t for his history it would have been exactly that, a very poor coaching decision . . . . That’s the problem with this situation is because we’ve had that history, it was hard to just say, “Man, this was one of the worst coaching decisions in the history of Super Bowls,” and the guys were even able to go a step further than before because things that they had dealt with before like this.
EK: When was the first time it crossed your mind that this may not just be a bad coaching decision and this may enter the area of intentional sabotage?
TB: Well, it was talked about in the locker room after the game. . . . We were just trying to find a reason why that would happen. Why would you change the game plan so close to the game if you know that the negative repercussions can cost you the game? If you go out and lose the game with the game plan you had before, that’s cool. You did what you had to do. Maybe the game plan maybe wasn’t great. You change it all of a sudden. You’re probably going to have it in the players’ heads that you’re not going to win a football game. Your players never want to go into a game knowing that if something starts to go bad — because all it takes is one or two guys to say, “Oh, this shouldn’t happen or that shouldn’t have happened.” And you can have other guys playing hard. But in football, you got eleven guys out there at one time, if one of those guys is not doing their job, we got a problem. That game just got out of hand, obviously were now trying to throw the ball in way we hadn’t practiced all week. And it became very, very difficult.
EK: So Tim, at the end of the day, you have $10 million tax free if you were right. And I realize you’re guessing. Is your best guess that Bill Callahan was incompetent, or that Bill Callahan was trying not to win the game?
TB: Wow . . . look I can’t say the man was incompetent because he was far from that. He is one of the smartest offensive coaches I’ve ever been around. I certainly can’t come back now and call him incompetent. Any decision you make you have to know that there are going to be positive outcomes and negative outcomes. So from that standpoint, you only leave me with one other choice. I’m going to have to take the latter of those two choices. I don’t think that he was incompetent. That’s not who Bill Callahan is. He was a very good football coach. I would feel better about the situation almost knowing that if it happened that way then I wouldn’t have had a problem with it than thinking that he absolutely had no idea what he was doing. I’d known him for five years at that point and the one thing you can’t put with Bill Callahan is incompetence.
EK: Have you ever addressed this with him directly, one on one?
TB: Yeah, I did at the beginning, when we came back in 2003. Even right up to the Super Bowl, and I got a “hey, that’s just what we decided to do”-type answer, and that was it. That year didn’t get off to a good start anyway. It really started to go way downhill after that, so we knew we were in a totally different situation at that particular point and this wasn’t a “hey, lets see if we can go back and do it again,” it was really survival mode, it was just trying to get through the year without somebody getting really hurt. It was really bad.
EK: There are people who say, “Good for you, you’re right on the money,” and other people who are asking the question, “Why does it take you 10 years to say something publicly?” How do you respond to that?
TB: I was on the TV, when I was on FOX in 2005, 2006, 2007, I said it there every year. There was some situation that prompted me to say it ever year. So I said it the last 4-5 years. Me and Dallas [radio], we get into a conversation about Super Bowls ever year and my story comes out. Why it blew up the way it did now, my wife was telling me, “You’ve been talking about this for years, so why today is all of a sudden are people jumping all over this deal?” So I have no explanation of why this is happening the way it is, but I think it’s a documented fact, if you go back and look at 2005 when I first retired and I was doing that FOX show week in and week out, I said it then.
EK: You were a Dallas kid and you played there and obviously a legend there, and now you’re there as well, look who’s calling the plays for the Dallas Cowboys next year. Bill Callahan is prying the playbook away from the head coach, Jason Garrett. What did you think when you heard that today?
TB: This guy, if he is in the position of offensive coordinator, that’s perfect for him. Because he can do what he does best, he can come up with plays and call the plays but as a head coach you have a totally different responsibility. And I’ll tell everyone here in Dallas, I think he’ll be incredibly great as offensive coordinator if he’s allowed to run his offense. Now if he’s running somebody else’s offense that could be more difficult. But with the receivers, the quarterback, and if they can get a running back that shows up week in and week out, with Jason Witten, I mean this is day one an explosive offensive team. It’s not going to be the same explosion that you’ve seen, it may be a team that takes nine plays to 12-15 plays to get a TD, he has to find out if he’s going to run his offense the same way he ran the Raiders offense.
EK: OK, new subject. This is the most direct way I can ask you, why the heck aren’t you in the Hall of Fame?
TB: Man, I have no clue about that. That’s been the most frustrating thing about this, is not really getting an explanation because I’m not a guy that understands something like, “We needed for you to score 105 touchdowns instead of 100 touchdowns.” You know whatever it is, I mean I understand, but to not know is mind boggling and that’s the frustrating part about this deal, is when they don’t call your name, they don’t give you a reason why. Even my guy who’s in there presenting for me, he said that he’s going around to everybody before hand saying, “Hey, how do we look?” and they say “Good, good, good,” but when I don’t make it and everyone’s in there saying, “I voted for him, I voted for him.” They don’t have to say they didn’t vote for someone, and they don’t have to give an explanation. So you don’t know what you have to do and if it has anything to do with my numbers then that’s never going to change as much as I think I can sometimes, I’m not going back out on the field.
EK: So when you get in, who’s going to present you?
TB: It will definitely be my brother. He was the one who got me into football back in the day and he taught me how to catch the ball and he was really trying to torture me and throwing the ball at me as hard as he could saying, “You better catch every ball,” so it got up to the point where I was catching every ball, and he didn’t want to play catch with me any more.
EK: Finally, when you get in, top rung of the trophy case, what goes on top spot? Is it the Heisman Trophy, or is it the gold blazer?
TB: Oh man, I’ll tell you what this Heisman has been with me for a long time. I think you’re going to have to find another place for this one because one can’t go on top of the other, they’re both incredibly special.