Tim Brown suggests “sabotage” by Bill Callahan in Super Bowl XXXVII

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A decade ago, the Raiders’ fate in Super Bowl XXXVII presumably was sealed by the weekend disappearance of center Barret Robbins.  Hall of Fame finalist Tim Brown believes that the blame for the 48-21 loss to the Buccaneers should go to Oakland’s head coach.

“We get our game plan for victory on Monday, and the game plan says we’re gonna run the ball,” Brown said Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, which provided us with the audio.  “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.'”

According to Brown, coach Bill Callahan then “blew this thing up” on the Friday before the Super Bowl, changing the game plan from a run-heavy attack to an intent to “throw the ball 60 times.”

“We all called it sabotage . . . because Callahan and [Tampa Bay coach Jon] Gruden were good friends,” Brown said.  “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. . . .  It’s hard to say that the guy sabotaged the Super Bowl.  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.  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 explained that the change had a specific impact on Robbins.  “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 tiptoed around the question of whether the change caused Robbins to go off the deep end, suggesting that it had an impact and then explaining that there’s no way to know if it did.  “I’m not saying one had anything to do with the other,” Brown said.  “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.

“Now, should Barret have manned up and tried to do it?  Absolutely.  But everybody knew Barret was unstable anyway.  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.”

Well, we now know what Tim Brown will be asked about next week in New Orleans.  Continuously.

There’s only one potential flaw in Brown’s logic.  He assumes that the new game plan came from Callahan.  Who’s to say that the order to throw the ball 60 times didn’t come from the late Al Davis, who had a special affinity for throwing the football, and also for meddling directly in the coaching of the team?

Thus, while it’s easy to blame Callahan, Callahan may have simply been the messenger.

Regardless, Brown and Callahan and Gruden and quarterback Rich Gannon and anyone/everyone who was part of that team will soon be hearing from reporters and radio/TV producers, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the game.

175 responses to “Tim Brown suggests “sabotage” by Bill Callahan in Super Bowl XXXVII

  1. Wow. Even if a coach hated the team he coached I can’t imagine he would just throw the freaking super bowl. It sounds fishy but it’s not like they had a scrub at QB. Rich Gannon was good.

    I just find it hard to believe ANYONE would give up a chance to be a superbowl winning head coach just because he wants to do his buddy a favor

  2. He sabotaged a game against USC in 2006. Because he thought, play nice and Petey would be nice in 2007, the year he thought he’d launch himself back to the NFL from Nebraska.

    After he exposed, he began to go hunting for stats instead of wins. See the 2007 season of Nebraska football, and what Bo Pelini did with Callahan’s players the next 3 years.

  3. Interesting point about Callahan being the messenger. But Al Davis was a defensive guy, thats why all coordinators didn’t want to come here because they would be playing his man-to-man scheme and nothing else. He usually let O-Coords have free range. But who knows, but the next season Callahan calling his team ‘the dumbest in america,’ lends some insight that Callahan did in fact hate the Raiders. Tim Brown’s logic for Trestman is skewed, but he might be right on the money for this one. I wouldn’t blame him for being bitter, his one and only Super Bowl appearance was not a fair one.

  4. Throw the ball 60 times?? Sounds like he was ahead of his time… Little did he know 12 years later that would be the norm for many successful teams.

    I doubt it was sabotage, probably just poor execution…

  5. He told this story years ago on The Ticket in Dallas, and repeated it this year when Callahan got hired by the Cowboys. Now that the national media has picked it up it will be interesting if any of his teammates corroborate it.

  6. Took you 10 years to come up with this excuse? Nice try, Bucs offense and defense destroyed them. As a Bucs fan, that super bowl defense was the best defense of that decade.

  7. Even if you throw it 60 times, which they didn’t, Tampa Bay picked off the Raiders 5 times. Pretty hard to sabotage the Super Bowl without Gannon being in on it too.

  8. If it makes you raider fans feel any better, the bucs will give back all of their offensive points in that game. Wait, the raiders still would have lost 27-21

  9. How does this story not come out for 10 years? It’s insane. Gannon is on sirius NFL radio every day. Call him and ask him.

  10. This means it has been ten years since I moved out of my parents house when I was 19 holding down drive thru at taco bell!!!

  11. Reading this makes it even more stunning than it used to be that the Raiders ever made the Super Bowl. Regardless of whether you believe even a word that Brown said, there’s no question that their locker room had major issues. Makes me feel even luckier as a Bucs fan that we basically got a cakewalk in the Super Bowl, because we haven’t even come close to the big game since.

  12. I’m going to have to find another players jersey to wear.He was a great player but man is he a whiner.Hes got an excuse for everything.

  13. Being a whiny punk full of self-pity is no way to get into Canton. Good luck to the next poor sap that has to get up and endorse Brown for enshrinement.

  14. All I remember is that Tim Brown dropped an easy pass for a 1st down after a Buc turnover and the Raiders settled for a FG instead of a TD to start the game.
    Thanks Timmy

  15. Wow. I would love to see some other members of that squad speak up to confirm or deny whether the game plan was changed less than 36 hours before kickoff.

    I will never believe that an NFL coach deliberately threw the Super Bowl, but I can believe that he got to the big dance and collapsed under the pressure…

  16. Somebody better test Brown for CTE.

    First the big conspiracy about Trestman coming in and preventing the Raiders’ QBs from throwing him the football, and now this.

    How exactly did Gruden “make him (Callahan) come” to Oakland?

    Yes, of course Bill Callahan would purposely throw a Super Bowl in his first and perhaps only opportunity to be an NFL head coach. Totally believable.

  17. Didn’t Rich Gannon win the MVP that season?

    The Raiders were the top passing offense, and only had an average rushing attack.

    Although TB was the top passing defense, they were #5 against the run.

    I get that a run-heavy offense may have taken TB off guard, but even if Brown is telling the truth…this was more about a bad relationship with his players not trusting a decision than actually a bad game plan.

  18. barret didnt go nuts because of Callahan. Anybody that has heard the real story knows his issue was with terry kriby. fact.

  19. As a Raider fan and Tim Brown fan I have to say, that’s a little overboard! So Callahan is gonna sabotage the game knowing if he wins he sets his own ticket as a HC with any team and the bigger pay that comes with it? Sorry Tim, I don’t think so.

  20. Please, to suggest that Al would meddle with the offensive game plan is a joke. Al ran the defense not the offense. If anything he would prefer a strong running game with a deep play action pass game. I believe he hated the west coast dink and dunk pass game the Raiders ran at the time.

  21. Tim Brown is correct.

    If you looked at the season, the last time Tampa lost prior to the Super Bowl was to the Steelers, Bettis and Zereoue ran rampant on them and opened up the secondary. It is not a secret that Callahan and the rest of the four idiots had a break down heading into the game.

    “Dumbest Team In America” Bill Callahan…. remember? Everyone wanted him fired after the Super Bowl, but only a crazy person would fire a coach that just took his team to the Super Bowl.

    This is not old news, and anyone who has listened and paid attention to the past ten years already knows this. Why this is news worthy or deems attention at this time is beyond me.

    Must just be fluff for the two week ramp up to the Super Bowl.

  22. This is crazy. Tim Brown needs to be searched for assault weapons. Keep him away from schools!

  23. For a guy with an ND education, he’s really an idiot. What’s next, he going to rip on his Pop Warner coach for not giving him enough reps? Man up? Wasn’t Barrett Robbins bi-polar?

  24. i remember saying , why did they change the game plan? instead of sticking with what got them there

  25. Tim Brown was my favorite Raider growing up, but he is sounding more and more ridiculous/insane by the day. I had always assumed that the decision to pass against Tampa’s great pass defense was a combination of 1) the Raiders 2002 main strength was the passing game (though they did have an effective running game) and 2) injuries.

    Now assuming that he is right that the decision to rely primarily on the pass was before Barrett Robbins defected to Mexico, he is forgetting another key part of the Raider’s line got hurt, i.e., Roland Williams, the main blocking tight end. In fact the Raiders had to scramble to sign Jeremy Brigham to play instead. Believe me, Brigham was very undersized and not a good blocker.

    Also, how come Tim Brown is the only saying this? How come is only saying this now? How come Jerry Rice, Rich Gannon, or anyone else not saying this? Tim, please talk to a professional about your conspiracy theories.

  26. Get a shrink! Deal with it! Raiders put up 3 points in first half; Raider QB threw 3 pick 6’s Carson Palmer style, were being coached against by a guy their own X coach and each team only had 6 days between conference game and superbowl; just a crazy week made crazier by the no weekend off before big game

  27. I will never forgive Callahan for what he did to Nebraska football from the mid 2000’s to 2007. He is a complete and utter disgrace.

  28. I remember one clip from NFL Films after the game was done..

    One of the Tampa Bay players on the sideline was laughing and saying “We know exactly what they are going to do.” He was laughing like a freaking hyena and raised the hair on my neck.

    I remember that. It made me sick

    Al Davis had some haters… Too bad for Rich Gannon. Rich deserved the ring.

  29. poor timmy. i remember in an interview jerry rice told tim brown he would sell him one of his rings. playing around of course.

  30. I think Tampa was the number one pass defense that year (might be wrong, but they were elite, however). They returned between 6 and 8 interceptions for touchdowns that regular season. There’s a bit of a silver lining of truth to what ol’ Tim says. Makes sense you’d go into a Superbowl with a run-heavy scheme against a top rated pass defense. Not only that, but Bill ran pretty much the same offense Jon had installed before getting “traded” to the Bucs. So when some other coach knows your both your offense and quarterback and has a top-tier pass defense, why go pass-heavy after practicing a run-based offense all week?

    Unless you wanted to expose something you thought was there but wasn’t and it went horribly wrong…..but it doesn’t seem like a sound game plan to go with for a championship.

  31. “Players play coaches coach ” and Tim brown saying they have “no shot ” realy you guys had a great team and a very good qb at the time , I smell execuses from Tim brown

  32. Now little Timmy, we should own up to our shortcomings. Truth is the Bucs kicked your ass! How many dropped passes did you have? Maybe you were in on it as well! I know the glory has faded since you retired but get a life man!

  33. If you think about it, Callahan really could be a rogue destroyer of things. Think about his last few jobs: Raiders (disaster), Nebraska (epic disaster), the Jets (need I say more) and the Cowboys (synonym for disaster. Wherever he goes, awful seems to follow.

  34. As insane as all this sounds I’d really like to hear what Gannon has to say about all of this because after all… this is the Raiders. I mean, they benched a hall of fame running back for nearly his whole career.

  35. I don’t have a high opinion of Callahan, but cmon. Bill Callahan didn’t want to be a NFL champion head coach? I guess Tim Brown didn’t want to be a Super Bowl champion either if he thinks sabotage on this.

  36. I remember watching Warren Sapp on NFL Network a couple of years ago talk about why the Raiders were so dysfunctional and he told a story about how Al Davis would change the whole gameplan if he did not like it on Fridays. Said it was terrible to play in that environment. I think this was from Al much more than Bill Callahan. God rest his soul, but he was a bit of mess as an owner for the last ten years of his life.

  37. jayquintana says: Jan 21, 2013 10:06 PM

    Tim Brown is a Hall of Fame finalists? He was good, maybe even very good, but he wasn’t a Hall of Famer.


    Tim Brown deserved to be a first-ballot guy. -He was second to only Jerry Rice in several statistical categories and remains top 5 or 7 or so inbasically every receiving category despit the offensive passing explosion that started in the twilight of his career and the fact he never had an elite QB except Gannon for a couple of years near the end.

  38. I’ll bet the truth lies somewhere in the middle of Callahan, Davis, Brown, and the rest of the team. One side never tells the full story, just one perception of it.

  39. Callahan led one of the biggest falls from the top of any head coach.

    Oakland was REALLY good with Gruden and the year after. Obviously they met each other in the Super Bowl.

    It’s not a stretch to think that Callahan was thinking he’ll screw Al, and get an NFL head job somewhere else?

    Callahan’s problem was he blew it at Nebraska.

  40. This is one of those “grassy knoll” deals. Florio’s take that it is likely the late Al Davis that meddled. But for Brown to say this I will give it some merit because of his career, however, at the same time only Callahan copping to it or coming clean and saying that Al Davis told him to do so would clear his name at this point. You can blame Al because it is plausible that he did just that, meddle.

  41. Taking nothing away from Tampa’s defense, but the ridiculously lopsided score didn’t compute at the time. Don’t know if I’d buy that Callahan sabotaged the game to benefit Gruden–that sounds pretty out there. Maybe he was just an idiot. Or maybe, as Florio suggested, the order came from a meddling Al Davis. But I can believe something went horribly wrong at the last minute.

  42. Keep in mind where Tim Brown went to college. It’s no surprise that The Real, Official, This Time I’m Really Telling The Whole Truth Story changes every day.

    Hint to those who don’t know where this whiner went to college–two words, first starts with an “N”, second starts with a “D”. Current team last seen getting pounded into the turf January 7th.

  43. dont feel bad raider fans. 02 buccs ran through everybody that year. they beat us in the playoffs that year too. 02 buccs were nasty.

  44. The Raiders lost because Jon Gruden made that Raider team and knew Gannon’s plays before the previous snap.

    Timmy, face it. Al Davis was to blame for that loss. Karma for forcing Gruden out because he was becoming too big like Marcus Allen became.

  45. Wasn’t it just a week ago he was complaining that Kerry rice was made number 1 receiver over him and he blasted the coach and GM? Now this crazy story which no one else on the team has eer told in ten years? Something sounds off here. What has upset him all of a sudden that hes doing this? Bad timing too with HOF voting about to take place for him too.

  46. So while you sit back and wonder why
    I got this freakin thorn in my side
    Oh my God, it’s a mirage
    I’m tellin’ y’all, it’s a sabotage

  47. Did you know that Tim Brown was represented by Mike Gilbert, the same Mike Gilbert that represented Marcus Allen and O.J. Simpson?

    Tim is as credible as Mike Gilbert, if not less so. I’m just speaking from experience.

  48. Wow this guy is just like raider fans.. Excuses excuses excuses.. Raiders should just sell their franchise and change the name!! True band wagon team half the fans don’t even know football is played on grass…

  49. According to Tim Brown, the 49ers will throw the SuperBaugh to the Ravens because Jimmy owes his brother John the first one.

    Look for the Ravens to dominate, and next time these two teams matchup in SuperBaugh 2, John will lay down for Jimmy.

  50. Could the fix be on in Dallas??? If Callahan gets the opportunity to call plays in Big D this year like many expect, he will have the opportunity to truly show how loyal he is to Jon Gruden. Old Jerry has everything set up to turn the team over to Gruden in 2014 with a lot of former Grudenites (Callahan, Marinelli,Kiffin). It should be an interesting year. Who has the over/under on who will blow more games for Dallas….Will it be Garrett, Callahan or Romo?

  51. Tim Brown the Football Player: One of the NFL’s best ever and top 5 greatest Raiders

    Tim Brown the Retired Football Player: Very low I.Q. and lacks the ability to know when to shut up

  52. can we all agree that Tim Brown belongs in the Hall of Very Good, and move on from the HOF talk? If he wasn’t a hall of famer when he retired, how is he a hall of famer now? it’s not like his stats got better over time.

  53. First it was Jerry Rice and now this.
    It’s to bad, he was one of the few (Howie and Bo being the only others) stoic long time Raiders that you could respect for doing the grind, keeping their mouth shut and going out with class. Well you have shattered that notion for me Mr Brown. Here’s rooting for you to wait a LONG time to get in the HoF. If you make it at all. I hope Cris Carter gets in before you. Stop crying and pouting. You LOST.

  54. All I can say is wow! This is one of the more insane claims I’ve ever heard a player make.

    Not even sure what to say to that. You get blown out in the Super Bowl I’m sure it’ll wear on you but this is pure insanity.

    Hindsight is 20/20 in that when you look back on things the puzzle pieces may fit together more than you would have thought initially

    It’s ridiculous to think a coach would put his entire career on the line in the biggest game of the year. This would cost him millions in future wages.

    I’m not sure there is anyone out there who would do that considering greed is one of the primary motivators when people in positions of power make questionable decisions.

    You’d have to be the most vindictive people ever to sacrifice life long financial security just to prove a point or prove your hatred and spite for an entire franchise.

  55. Well I doubt Callahan sabatoged it. He still hasn’t been able to work for Gruden til this day choosing other jobs instead.

    The game plan was a recipe for disaster though. A pass heavy attack played right into the 2002 Bucs hands. As a matter of fact they wanted to get off to a fast start to make teams throw the ball because Rice was playing out of his mind that year and was forcing QBs to throw early into coverage.

    Really normally the world doesn’t remember the loser of a Superbowl, but everybody remembers the Raiders because of the one-sided massacre that occurred.

  56. “We all called it sabotage .. . . . It’s hard to say that the guy sabotaged the Super Bowl. 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. 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.

    A good receiver on a very mediocre team…never a HOF in my opinon…and now this? Really. Really? Name one other HOF that would say this. What?
    None? Right! Timmy probably had an imaginary girlfriend at NOTER DAME, too.

  57. Ok here are the facts, First of all Florio hates the Raiders. He hated Al Davis along with all the other media guys because you could not find any Rats inside the Raiders when AL was alive. Second fact it was not just the HC that ruined the Raiders superbowl it was also Rich Gannon.
    Gannon went to the coach and they both put that game plan together, It’s been well documented.
    Gannon wanted all the glory.
    Raiders would of destroyed the Bucs that year with any other coach. ANY COACH.
    Raiders would of won at least 3 superbowls if it was not for the Tuck Rule in the first place cause Gruden would of never of left

  58. Oh and what Did getting Marcus Allen do for the Cheifs? How many Super bowls did he win for them again? I forget…
    AL Davis knew football. Call him crazy whatever you want but the guy is a legend.
    The Media will rag on Al for taking JaMarcus Russell now but before the draft ESPN and the rest of them were saying if Raiders don;t take Russell they are crazy. Mel Kiper said when Al picked Russell, f”inally Al Davis makes the right decision”
    The guy turns out to be a bust so the media makes it out to be Al Davis bad picks, Al Davis is crazy ect ect.

  59. I read this and I believe Tim, I really do!

    So, I think Calahan is a really bad guy for making the center Bi-Polar, making him go to Mexico instead of the Superbowl, causing him to go to prison, etc., etc., etc., I’m sure every misstep in Barret’s life was completely Calahan’s fault.

    But then, just when I was thinking what a bad guy he was, I realized what an amazing human being he was, because he would rather his friend win a Superbowl than himself!! I’m not sure I would have that kind of love in my heart!!

  60. Any other ball club, even Dallas, and I would say Tim is whack.

    ….but this is the Raiders, and it makes way more sense than you might think. I believe him.

  61. Oh no, not another thing for Raiders fans to complain about. That’s the last thing we need. Must have been getting jealous that the Ravens fans are stealing the “woe is me” chalice from you guys.

  62. This makes perfect sense I watched that game and something just did not seem right about the way the raiders were playing. It was not the same way they played all year

  63. Tim Brown is full of crap! The Raiders had the number #1 offense in the NFL that year. Gannon had nearly 5,000 yards passing on the season and 26 TD’s. the reason they lost that Superbowl game was Tampa’s defense picked off Gannon 5 times and returned 3 for TD’s. That Tampa D (Brooks, Sapp, Rice, Lynch, Barber, etc..) was one of the best of all time and they thoroughly kicked Oaklands ass….PERIOD!

  64. Hey I’m a Cowboy fan, what should I think of my possible new playcaller now? He’s gonna throw the season to get Garrett fired? Nah, Garrett will accomplish that all by himself.

  65. As a Skins fan, whenever i got frustrated with ol Danny boy and his circus, I could take comfort in knowing that there’s always the Raiders.

    Praying that Danny boy continues to fade to black, only to open the wallet when asked.

  66. Seriously!? Notice Tim Brown is the only one talking and not Jerry Rice. Les with class. Stop making excuses. It’s over. Go get that brain scanned

  67. This isn’t the first time Timmy or another Raider from that team has laid that embarrassment at Callahan’s feet. I wouldn’t say sabotage but if the guys who were there will say Callahan screwed America of at least a watchable game, who am I to call them wrong when I wasn’t there?

  68. Tim Brown has always been nothing but the complete professional there is no reason that I wouldn’t believe what he saying. As a Raider fan for over 35 years I would trust Tim Brown first before I would ever trust Al Davis’s decisions. After…. He is the reason the Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay and cost the team a super bowl.

  69. It’s all about match ups. That’s all football is. I think it’s fascinating to hear a star wideout suggest they had no shot at winning if they went pass heavy.

    It makes you wonder how the game plan can really dictate if players think they have a shot at winning. Makes you wonder how many big games there have been and one team just knows they were doomed for.

    I happen to believe Notre dame thought this before their game against Alabama. Those guys just knew Alabama was bigger, better, faster, and stronger.

  70. If I were privy to inside info like that, I would have a hard time not sending my cousin or bro-in-law on a trip to Las Vegas several times a year.

    But, we all know that never happens.

  71. From what I’m seeing on the internet this accusation actually ISN’T new to Raider fans, apparently goes back to 2003.

    So saying that he’s saying it now for attention is just might not be true, and I’m an Eagles fan on the East Coast. Internet people, makes research a ‘tad bit’ easier.

  72. How many concussions had Tim Brown had? Somebody better check him out for brain trauma before he gets any more great ideas!

  73. Callahan sabotaged the team at the beginning if the season by assuming we would never face the bucs and not changing anything about the offense gruden created. al Davis was an old douche with a complex, traded the best raider coach in decades and got exactly what he deserved… a Super Bowl facing the coach he ran out of town. Callahan probably thought he was fine until hearing reports that gruden was teaching the bucs the raider offense in practice and tried to change up the game plan right before the game to save face. too little too late by the dumbest coach in America hired by the dumbest owner.

  74. The 2002 Bucs possessed one of the five greatest team defenses ever put onto a football field. Look at the stats; the simple numbers and the advanced metrics will confirm this information, so click the thumbs down and hate away if you must, but the truth is the truth. Three of those Buc players will one day be enshrined in the Hall of Fame (Sapp, Brooks and Barber) and two more are at least worthy of making the ballot (Lynch and Rice).

    Jon Gruden pushed this team over the top. He brought in a dozen players, most on the offensive side of the football and he did two things Tony Dungy could never do; 1. Beat Philly when it mattered and 2. Make it to the Super Bowl and win.

    Finally, this Tim Brown nonsense. Was Callahan attempting to sabotage the Super Bowl? Absolutely not, and even in the above post, Tim Brown doesn’t even fully subscribe to the notion, because it lacks any real logic. But to suggest that the Raiders had a chance if they switched up their game plan is neither here nor there. Oakland was at a disadvantage from the start because Jon Gruden was the coach of the Bucs. The same Jon Gruden who turned Rich Gannon into an MVP and made the Raiders an elite and relevant team and was traded to Tampa Bay that very season was facing his old team in the Super Bowl. This isn’t even factoring in the Barrett Robbins meltdown (which had nothing to do with the stress of play calling and everything to do with being mentally unstable). Let us also not forget that Oakland forced a turnover and took an early 3-0 lead before Tampa dominated the rest of the game.

    This is a non-story, and even the most dedicated Raider fan is aware of this. The only unusual moment in that game was the TD catch by Jerry Porter that could have been called either way. That’s it. The 2002 Buccaneer defense was something special, and since Tampa Bay isn’t in a major market, not a lot of people aside from Buc fans remember just how good that unit was. It held the once Greatest Show on Turf to 11 points in the NFC championship game in 2000.

    Fans today might recall Warren Sapp for his bankruptcy filings and general clown like behavior, but he was once the best DT in all of football, and Derrick Brooks was just as vital a player to the Bucs as is Ray Lewis to the Ravens, but Brooks made his impact on the field and wasn’t placing himself in situations that could lead to trouble off the field or directing attention to himself with sermons and dancing. Brush up on some history and you’ll discover a defense so dominating that its name became permanently attached to the scheme it made famous (Tampa 2).

    Those are facts. Tim Brown, a player who finished his career in Tampa fair catching punts, talking about ‘sabotage’ reeks of bitterness. Maybe Ray Lewis can say a prayer for the man.

  75. The Raiders led the league in passing that year by over 20 yards a game on average. The Tampa Bay defense was just pretty damned good that year. They finished 1st in total defense, 1st in pass defense, 5th in run defense.

    Could Oakland have ran more early? Probably, but they were not a running team. Gannon threw the ball 618 times, they ran it just over 400. That 60% split would have meant the Raiders, had they stuck to their usual gameplan, would have ran the ball 22 times. (they ran it 11)

    Sounds like a conspiracy, right? Well, until you realize that Tampa jumped out to a 20-3 lead at halftime and 27-3 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

    At that point, the gameplan goes to hell. Gannon threw INT’s on 1st and 10, 2nd and 2, 3rd and 2 (returned for a TD), 3rd and 18 (TD) and 2nd and 2 (TD). (the last three INT’s came with the game essentially over)

    The Raiders just got it handed to em that day. Deal with it Timmy.

  76. Tim Brown belongs in the Hall of Fame.

    He had an amazing 10 year run as the centerpiece of an offense, opponents knew he was the Raiders best weapon and he still produced year in and year out.

    Think about Andre Reed, who did he played with? HOF QB Jim Kelly, HOF RB Thurman Thomas and a revolutionary offense.

    Think about Chris Carter, who did he played with? Jake Reed, Randy Moss, Robert Smith, good QB’s like Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.

    Now think about Tim Brown, who did he played with?….uhm, uhm….exactly.

    Brown was the best player on his team for most of his career, can’t say the same for Reed and Carter.

    Gannon and Rice came toward the end of his career, Tim had already amassed most of his numbers by then.

    Stop the bias, do the research and you will see Tim Brown’s career was amazing considering he was a one-man offense for about a decade.

  77. Lol even if the game plan didn’t change you still would of lost. That buc D couldn’t get run on either. You might of been shutout if you ran the ball.

  78. Seriously … all the digs at Brown and how crazy he sounds may be justified but anybody who thinks some games are not fixed … need a reality check.

  79. As a Raider fan I really don’t know what to believe, but I can say this. I watched the game and we only called 7 total run plays for one of the top running teams in the NFL that year. We had a total of 11 runs in the whole game. During that season the Buc’s had only four times and three of those losses came at the hands of the Saints(twice) and the Steelers. All three of those losses was blueprint to how to beat that Buc team that year. You had to run the ball. So I won’t totally dismiss the notion of what Brown is saying, but it is hard to believe! Just a thought!

  80. “lennydpocketqb says:Jan 21, 2013 9:38 PM

    This is absolutely insane. But, for some reason I believe Florio’s end take that Al meddled.”

    I guess you, Florio and the 264 people who liked your comment missed the part where Tim said he’s been playing football for 27 years and he’s never had the gameplan change on the Friday before a game. I’m pretty sure he was a Raider his entire career up to that point and I’m pretty sure Al Davis was the owner the entire time he played for the Raiders. Keep in mind they have an extra week to prepare for the Super Bowl, too.

  81. Callaghan sabotaged the Super Bowl? With all those drops, I thought it was you all along, Tim.

  82. Always figured this game was fixed. Thank you Tim Brown for confirming my suspicions.

    The players were out drinking and partying the Saturday night before the game — what does that tell you? They knew it didn’t matter.

    The Center, Robbins, supposedly had a mental breakdown. Who knows? Perhaps he was the only guy with a moral backbone and refused to play a fixed game.

    Everyone knows the story about Gruden yelling out the playcalls as they were happening. Yes, Callahan was a crappy coach, but it’s hard to believe he was that crappy. He had a featherbed waiting for him in the NCAA, and it didn’t matter to him.

    Hypothetically, if the Glazers decided to deliver a truckload of cash over to Al Davis…

  83. Jon Ritchie said same exact thing on ESPN Radio few months ago. Didn’t go as saying it was sabotage but definitely blamed Callahan for changing the game plan Friday night. All the practice and prep was out the window. Callahan is an idiot !

  84. Why is everyone crawling Tim Brown? The only thing that matters is whether this story is true or not. Given the amount of money that is bet on the Super Bowl every year this should be investigated, not just by the league, but by the FBI.

    And yes, the FBI does investigate such things. Ask Len Dawson.

    If this is true it’s a bombshell of a story. Florio’s take on Al Davis is just a guess. In any case the truth of the matter is known to many and Brown’s story should be easy to either corroborate or refute.

  85. “…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.”

    Maybe that attitude had more to do with losing than the game plan?

  86. “A good receiver on a very mediocre team…never a HOF in my opinon…and now this? Really. Really? Name one other HOF that would say this. What?
    None? Right! Timmy probably had an imaginary girlfriend at NOTre DAME, too.”

    You seem like a Bitter Bronco fan upset that Timmy never signed w/the Broncos during his first go at free-agency.

    Not all H.O.F.’s are Super Bowl winning players. Take for instance OJ Simpson. He has done/said a ton of crap much worse. Timmy crying about this
    in comparison to someone who is actually in the Hall seems a bit harmless. DON’T YOU THINK?

    And about NOTRE DAME, and your little sad attempt to seem like you were ever witty about anything you said. (Te’o). Tim Brown was to busy winning the Heisman award in ’87. NOT READING SOME FALSE REPORTS ABOUT PEOPLE AND SMEARING THEIR NAME FURTHER.

    Tim Brown may not have won a SB but his stats are deserving. (and all this as you say on “medicore teams” (w/many different QB’s I will add)).

  87. Changing the game plan on a Friday is bizarre.

    No coach should do that for a preseason game let alone a Super Bowl.

  88. Tim Brown is making excuses again. That was one of the best Super Bowls ever played. But, you must remember that Brown was a Buc his last year in the NFL. Gruden brought him here as a punt returner. All Brown would do was signal for a fair catch, he almost never ran it back. He was so horrible, but Gruden wouldnt bench him. Brown is something else.

  89. Callahan didn’t change any of the signals or audibles as well. Had any other coach been coaching the Bucc’s besides Gruden the Raiders would have destroyed them with or without Barrett Robins.

    Gruden took a career back up in Gannon and turned him into a All Pro and league MVP. So he knew everything that there is to know about a qb. His tendencies, how he pump fakes, his favorite targets, what he likes to audible to when he sees ceratin defenses. Gruden was even the scout qb in practice to imitate him leading up to the Super Bowl.

    Gruden made the raiders what they were and how good as they were, of course he knew how to beat them. Anybody thinks any different than you really don’t know what you are talking about. The John Gruden trade will go down to me as the worst trade in the history of the nfl because it cost the Raiders a Super Bowl.

  90. Tim Brown is whining & looking for a way to get his name in the news. The Bucs dominated them. Maybe the game plan did change. If it did, they should’ve executed it better. Don’t blame getting destroyed on a game plan & having to use a backup center. It’s funny to here a WR complain about them trying to get him the ball too much & they lost because of throwing to him.

  91. And if you guys knew anything about Al Davis, you would surely be aware that he loved power running and the vertical passing game, so if he would have meddled, the Raiders would have ran the ball up Tampa’s throat and took some deep shots to loosen them up in the defensive backfield.

  92. You didn’t run the ball because you were so far behind raider fan. Stop making excuses. Your defense couldn’t stop them and your offense couldn’t execute. I wonder if Jerry Rice has been saying the same thing. Oh wait no he hasn’t. Why? Because he knows how to lose with dignity and class

  93. Tim is very bitter. I was always rooting for him to get in the hall. But sure changed my mind.
    Hope he waits another couple years.

  94. The reason Oakland lost was because Gruden knew the defensive play calls for Oakland and that is why they lost. Tampa had every audible play call. From Wikipedia…
    “As many sports fans and writers predicted, Gruden’s prior knowledge of the Raiders was a major factor in the Buccaneers’ win in Super Bowl XXXVII. The most damaging piece of evidence is NFL Films footage of Tampa Bay defensive back John Lynch telling his teammates during the game that almost all of the plays ran by Oakland’s offense were plays that Gruden (who that week even played the part of “Rich Gannon” by playing QB with the scout-team offense) specifically told them to look out for.[15] Better still for the Buccaneers was that Oakland hadn’t changed their audible-calling signals that Gruden himself had installed, thus tipping off plays repeatedly. As a result, Tampa Bay dominated Oakland, outgaining them in total yards (365 to 269), rushing yards (150 to 19), first downs (24 to 11), offensive plays (76 to 60), and forced turnovers (5 to 1). “

  95. And, as a Bucs fan I really don’t care how they won the Super Bowl as long as they have a Ring. Just ask any Browns or Eagles fan what they would do for a SB win.

  96. Whether its true or not, just more evidence of the dysfunction in the organization under Al Davis. Hopefully that’s all in the past now. Everytime I read that Mark Davis wants to change the Raider organization I feel more optimistic. Any change has to be good because the old organization was soo bad.

  97. “There’s only one potential flaw in Brown’s logic. He assumes that the new game plan came from Callahan. Who’s to say that the order to throw the ball 60 times didn’t come from the late Al Davis, who had a special affinity for throwing the football, and also for meddling directly in the coaching of the team?”

    Well, there’s actually a potential flaw in this logic. Al Davis did NOT have a special affinity for a short passing attack. He detested it. This is very well known. He loved the deep ball. He would definitely have preferred running the ball to the dink and dunk gameplan they actually ran.

    The Raiders didn’t throw the deep ball 60 times – it wouldn’t have even been possible with Gannon’s weak arm. That kind of blows this Al-was-behind-it theory out of the water.

    Even if Callahan did not conspire with Gruden to throw the game, it was pure negligence on Callahan’s part to have them use the SAME AUDIBLES that they used when Gruden was coach.

  98. As a Raider fan and a big Tim Brown fan, I have to admit he sounds ridiculous coming out with these accusations especially while being a finalist for the HOF. However, I always did find it incredibly odd that the Raiders never got around to changing terminology or verbiage in play calls or audibles before facing the coach that was just with the team the year before. Either way, the Raiders players and fans need to get over it. I’m more concerned with the disappointing present and unpromising future of the Raiders.

  99. First of all, if Callahan wanted to sabotage the Raiders, why coach them to the #1 offense in football, the #1 seed in the AFC, and all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl? Why not make them go 2-12?

    Second, as Golic pointed out on Mike and Mike, it’s not like the Raiders never ran a pass play before the Super Bowl. Deciding to go to a passing attack on Friday wouldn’t have required them to learn an entirely new offense in two days. They only had the #1 passing offense in the league; it shouldn’t have been that much of a shock for them to go to a pass-heavy gameplan. In fact, they were 18th in rushing that year, so you could argue they got where they were BECAUSE of the pass. In their two playoff games leading to the Super Bowl, the Raiders passed 71 times for 558 yards and ran 47 time for 209 yards. Going with a passing attack should have been absolutely zero shock to them.

    Finally, the Raiders were down 20-3 at halftime, and 34-9 after three quarters. Of course they were going to throw a lot. So arguing that the number of pass attempts vs. the number of rushes proves some kind of sabotage is ludicrous.

  100. I beleive it. Just listen to its ridiculousness. Why do change the game plan before game day, when you’ve practiced this gameplan 1 week or 2 weeks? First answer that.

    Second, I’ve always thought that the NFL being like the WWE. Where its competitive field of play is within a group of owners that share revenue. That means everyone is winning something, its set up that there are no losers. How’s that competition? The Bucs obviously new every play call that day, something wasn’t right.

    Third. Tim’s right and ask Marcus Allen about how much everyone hated Al Davis and that whole organization. Conspire? No, I call it more like sticking it to a jerk.

    Take all those considerations, yea, 100 percent no doubt now that, that SuperBowl wasn’t about two teams wanting to see who was best that day

  101. Time Brown is making me think that retired players may need drug testing! What is this guy on?

  102. I didn’t elaborate too much on the NFL and WWE comparison.

    The WWE today is a business who sells entertainment and that it openly admits the stage. But back in the day the WWF wrestlers would tell you its competition and that its real. The NFL operates on the WWF operation today. Sure the hits are real, maybe some of the outcomes are, but these storylines get involved with the drama of the games that I beleive for ratings purposes effects outcomes.

    Mysteriously, when lawyers get involved in scandels on Video taping, Vegas shaving, its then conveniantly called “entertainment” and that the NFL as a private business can fix itself, if it wanted too. Who knows, but then one has got to ask then how can it be competition then?

    Finally, I love watching the NFL. I play fantasy football and its a blast. I accept it for what it is, my grown up version of the WWF.

  103. The only way the game plan changes is if Al Davis orders it changed. Period. Davis ran that team, not Callahan.

  104. Hey Tim:

    The reason you lost the Super Bowl is because Gruden knew Gannon like the back of his hand. He threw 5 picks that day. Was that sabatoge too?


  105. Callahan was also Mitt Romney’s chief political strategist so it’s completely believable…..to Tim Brown. But then again, he couldn’t say that was a fact.

  106. Tim Brown is a Hall of Fame finalists? He was good, maybe even very good, but he wasn’t a Hall of Famer.
    This person never watched a Raiders game with Tim Brown apparently. One of the surest handed receivers, EVER!! Not to mention a real threat in the return game… He was always exciting to watch..

    Although I love Tim Brown, this does seem ‘over the top’. But then again, this story could have legs… Cant wait to hear some reactions from Gannon, Gruden and anyone else involved!

  107. jakec4 says: Jan 21, 2013 9:44 PM

    Even if you throw it 60 times, which they didn’t, Tampa Bay picked off the Raiders 5 times

    Those pics were the direct result of the Bucs defense knowing the playbook and audible system. The players even admitted as such. I think that is mainly where Callahan went wrong. He didn’t change the audible system or even try to change anything knowing that the coach on the other sideline was the man who created the playbook. Even worse, if he really did change the game plan on the Friday before, there was no chance of winning at all.

    The best team that day won the game, but the best team in the league did not. The Raiders were the best team in the NFL that year, but like always, the best team isn’t always the better team on gameday.

  108. “The best team that day won the game, but the best team in the league did not. The Raiders were the best team in the NFL that year, but like always, the best team isn’t always the better team on gameday.”

    No the best team was the bucs with a 12-4 record, defensive mvp, and number 1 defense in the league….

  109. Seeing Jerry Rice get involved in this is like realizing your senile old dog needs to go the the vet to be put to sleep. Why would he embarrass himself like this given his incredible career?

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