Jerry Rice agrees with Tim Brown: Bill Callahan sabotaged us

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The bizarre controversy over whether former Raiders coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the team before Super Bowl XXXVII by changing the game plan at the last minute has taken another surprising turn: Jerry Rice has come forward to say he sides with his former teammate Tim Brown in believing that Callahan wanted to lose.

Rice, who was on the Raiders team that lost Super Bowl XXXVII to the Buccaneers, said on ESPN that Callahan disliked his players, disliked his team, and was willing to let his old boss, then-Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, beat him.

“For some reason — and I don’t know why — Bill Callahan did not like me,” Rice said. “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.'”

For Rice, a universally respected player who was named in a poll of experts conducted by NFL Network as the greatest player in NFL history, to say that he believes one of his former coaches actively wanted to lose a Super Bowl is shocking. ESPN’s Trey Wingo stopped Rice and asked him if he realized the magnitude of the accusation that Callahan once threw the Super Bowl. Rice said he understands the weight of his words.

“Yeah, I know exactly what I’m saying,” Rice said.

Until Brown made his bombshell accusation on Saturday, the biggest controversy to come out of Super Bowl XXXVII was the fact that Raiders center Barret Robbins abandoned the team the day before the game. Rice blames Callahan for that, too: According to Rice, Robbins was so demoralized by Callahan announcing in a team meeting that he was going to call mostly pass plays that Robbins decided to bail on the Super Bowl.

“With Barret, 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.

I have all the respect in the world for Jerry Rice, but blaming Callahan for Robbins’ actions is ridiculous. Robbins is a man who has struggled with mental illness for most of his life. A man who struggles with mental illness is battling demons much more profound than a coach changing his game plan. Does Rice also blame Callahan for the legal and personal problems that have plagued Robbins in the decade since his NFL career ended?

Rice also doesn’t seem to accurately remember how that Super Bowl went down. In his ESPN appearance, Rice said Callahan called on the Raiders “to throw the ball over 60 times.” But the Raiders didn’t throw the ball 60 times or even 50 times. They threw 44 times — exactly three more times than they had thrown the ball the week before, when they won the AFC Championship Game.

And that brings us to the strangest part of all this criticism of Callahan: Brown and Rice are insisting that Callahan sabotaged the team by implementing a pass-first offensive game plan. But the Raiders had been a passing team all season: They led the NFL in passing yards that season while ranking 18th in the league in rushing yards and 23rd in the league in rushing attempts. In other words, Callahan called a lot of passes in the Super Bowl because it was calling a lot of passes that had led them to the Super Bowl in the first place.

For Brown and Rice to suggest that Callahan was throwing the Super Bowl because he continued to call a lot of passes just as he had all season long is absolutely ridiculous.

165 responses to “Jerry Rice agrees with Tim Brown: Bill Callahan sabotaged us

  1. Obviously Jerry sees it through different eyes. If you think someone doesn’t like you, you’re gonna side with someone that opposes that person.

  2. Jerry Rice was mic’d for that game too. I remember him taking the mic off in disgust when the cameras panned back to him during the latter part of that game.
    Now I really know why.

    I believe him.

  3. Let me guess: Callahan invited Dwight Smith, Derrick Brooks and Dexter Jackson into the gameplan meetings, that’s why they combined for 5 ints and 3 TD returns on those ints.

  4. Oh Jokeland… this just keeps getting better and better. God forbid you take any personal accountability for stinking up the joint. Nah, just accuse a Head Coach of throwing the game. Typical.

  5. I don’t care how ridiculous this sounds now that Jerry Rice is saying this you have to take it seriously.

    Why would Jerry Rice maybe the greatest NFL player ever and multiple Super Bowl winner lie about this? What is there to be gained? Ask yourself that before you say he is lying.

  6. If anyone has been around a person with mental illness knows it doesn’t take much to set them off.
    I can see changing a game plan 2 days before the biggest game in your career setting off a unstable person.
    Face it … Robbins going missing was the biggest story of the SB.
    Wasn’t the first report of him … being dead?

  7. Why would he lie? Well, if the choice is siding with a teammate he liked or a coach he despised, why do you think? Is it really all that difficult to reason?

  8. As I mentioned in a comment under a previous posting, the Raiders also caught a bad break when Roland Williams, their blocking tight-end suffered a serious injury in the playoffs. The Raiders had to scramble and sign an undersized Jeremy Brigham as a substitute. It probably would have been difficult for the Raiders to execute running plays without two important players, i.e., Robbins and Williams. Just saying.

  9. redfield11 says:Jan 22, 2013 5:01 PM

    For the love of god people, that team gave up 40+ points it doesn’t matter what the offense did, defense is what got crushed.

    You do realize Gannon threw 5 ints and 3 of them returned for td’s dont you?

  10. Okay I said defense got crushed in the first post and that’s not true, there were several defensive touchdowns. But taking out defensive touchdowns it was still 28pts and you’d assume with the game gannon had at least one of those pick six’s would have happened anyway, still too much for offense to try and overcome.

  11. If you hated your team and organization this much, wouldn’t you just tank the season from the start? Or maybe sabotage the AFC Championship Game?

    Sounds to me like the players are looking for a scapegoat for their play on the field.

  12. Somebody should ask Marc Trestman. Wasn’t he the Offensive Coordinator in that game? Then again, a coach would probably never throw a colleague under the bus, so I guess the whole truth will remain a mystery.

  13. Well, seems strange to wait a decade with this news. The only explanation is there still is some of that kool aid out there and former players,even some in the hall of fame, are sipping it.

  14. It’s not so much that he changed the gameplan at the last minute, but c’mon, he never changed the offensive calls? Seriously? Sabatoge or not, you don’t stand a chance when your opponent in the Super Bowl knows your play calls.

  15. “Brown and Rice are insisting that Callahan sabotaged the team by implementing a pass-first offensive game plan.”

    No, they’re saying the problem was that he CHANGED the game plan two days before the game. If Callahan had originally called for a pass-heavy game plan and then reversed it to a run-heavy plan two days prior to the game they’d be saying the same thing. Trust me, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown have no problem generally with a coach saying he wants to throw the ball all day long.

  16. We are talking about a franchise that left one of the greatest running backs in history on the bench for years because the owner was jealous of how popular the player was with the other players and the fans.

  17. BIG difference between “blaming” Callahan for Robbins’ actions and suggesting it may have been a contributing factor.

  18. I think it’s safe to say that most players really really really really did not like Bill Callahan. And this is the guy who’s going to be calling plays for the Cowboys next year. I’m sure that’s going to go well.

  19. Michael, your argument does not make sense. If the Raiders were a pass-happy team all year, then why did they game plan to run the ball, THEN switch to a pass-first strategy at the last minute? By your argument, they would have been planning to pass from the get-go.

    Also, going against a Tampa-2 defense, you want to run the ball as the DL is quick but undersized. By your logic, Kaepernick should have run 20 times vs. Atlanta as that’s what they do best, even though Atlanta had schemed to stop it.

    Having said that, I have no idea if Callahan threw the game or not, but I know not changing the play call terminology against a coach who knows your terminology, is either sabotage or supreme stupidity…or both.

  20. geniusfan says:
    Jan 22, 2013 5:07 PM
    I don’t care how ridiculous this sounds now that Jerry Rice is saying this you have to take it seriously.

    Why would Jerry Rice maybe the greatest NFL player ever and multiple Super Bowl winner lie about this? What is there to be gained? Ask yourself that before you say he is lying.
    HUGE FAN OF JERRY RICE & I HAVE ALL THE RESPECT IN THE WORLD FOR HIM. That being said, I think he’s wrong here. I’m not saying he’s a flat out liar, & I don’t think hes coming out lying just to lie. He might really believe that they were sabotaged, but I think he’s wrong, & like it was mentioned before, the Raiders were already a Pass Happy team that entire year. I remember there was talk about Gannon being on track to pass Marino’s record for most pass yards in a season. Also, I’ve never heard of any WR’s being unhappy with a gameplan that says “Hey lets pass the ball a million times to you guys!!!” Not saying he’s wrong as a fact, but thats definitely my opinion.

  21. For the love of god people, that team gave up 40+ points it doesn’t matter what the offense did, defense is what got crushed.


    I dont care who is right or wrong here, but i think you and all those people who gave you a thumbs up need to go back and watch that game.

  22. But the Raiders didn’t throw the ball 60 times or even 50 times. They threw 44 times

    Maybe they planned to throw 60 times, but didn’t get a chance to as there were so many interceptions that game?

  23. What’s obvious is that there was certainly quite a bit of turmoil on this team and that the players HATED Callahan.

    The conspiracy theory, however, still doesn’t make sense to me. With the way these guys chase jobs, I can’t make myself believe that an up and coming coach would risk throwing away his entire career to spite one particular owner.

  24. This just goes to prove that you can be an all time great without having two brain cells to rub together. When Bill Romanowski makes more sense than you … it’s time to check yourself.

  25. I disagree with Rice and Brown but to all the people saying how the defence gave up 48 points, remember that 21 of those points came on interceptions returned for TDs

  26. It’s never the Raiders fault they lose. For years we’ve had to listen to Raider fans on this board tell us how the NFL is out to get them. Now ex-coaches are in on the conspiracy too. Unreal.

    They played a bad game, got down early, had to throw because of it, and things snowballed on them. Not everything is a conspiracy. Sometimes things just happen.

  27. Someone should check both Rice and Brown for mental illness. A chance to win a SB and Callahan is going to throw it? Ridiculous.

  28. Mike, thanks for the research on the Raiders passing stats leading up to that Super Bowl. You’ve now given me ample reason to no longer respect either Brown or Rice. Ironic, huh? Two PASS RECEIVERS complaining about a game plan that would involve them to a greater degree. Go figure…

    Nice of Brown and Rice to attempt to diminish the accomplishments of the Tampa Bay team though. Very classy.

    Best of the stats you quoted: he threw just THREE times more than when they won the week before in the AFC Championship Game. Yep, he sure deviated from their typical game plan, didn’t he?

  29. Well, MDS, no one can accuse you of refusing to take a position! And I agree with you on several points. No coach would throw a Super Bowl just to make a buddy look good. Last-minute changes to the game plan could have spooked Robbins, but only because he already had emotional issues. And the Bucs defense played a superior game. But it still seems there was a lot of erratic decisionmaking by the Raiders coaching staff approaching that game. It would be interesting to hear what Callahan says.

  30. I think the most incriminating evidence that Callahan sabotaged his own team is the fact he didn’t change audible and line call terminology. How do you not change that at the very least against the guy who created the terminology? People say not to blame Callahan for Robins actions, however if you know a guy has mental problems how and why would you throw a whole new game plan and set of line calls to him 2 days before the Super Bowl? Why would you trust him with that type of responsibility? I’m not for conspiracy theories but I’m kind of seeing where Rice and Brown are coming from. 3 defensive touchdowns? Guys were jumping routes with ease because they knew what was coming. When the defense is calling out your plays and audibles on the line, the coach is one responsible for that!!!

  31. Is it possible Rice/Brown can’t accept the fact that they lost the big game and are looking to pin the blame externally?

    Seems odd that a coach would march all the way through the playoffs to only flush it down the toilet when it mattered the most

    I guess we can call Belichick and see if he has any tape of the Raiders practices leading up to the Super Bowl

  32. geniusfan says:
    Jan 22, 2013 5:07 PM

    Why would Jerry Rice maybe the greatest NFL player ever and multiple Super Bowl winner lie about this? What is there to be gained? Ask yourself that before you say he is lying.

    Lying or not lying doesn’t factor in here.

    He is stating his opinion that given the strange change in the game plan, he believes Callahan MAY have been trying to lose the game.

    People are disputing his opinion here, saying he’s wrong.

    Not calling him a liar.

  33. Marc Trestman and Jim Harbaugh were both assistant coaches on that Raider offense. Were they involved in the sabotage?

    This is going to end up being a distraction for the 49ers because someone is going to ask Harbaugh questions about it at Super Bowl press conferences. Seems to me that Jerry Rice isn’t helping his other team much here.

  34. Lol…it really is the WWE. Storylines and vendettas…Vince McMahon would be proud.

  35. I bet my money on Brown and Rice–two of the most respected football heads in the annuals of the NFL. Something stinks about that game. Granted the team was a pass first team doing the year but why would you develop a run first game plan all week long and then two days before the biggest game of the year, scrap the entire game plan and go back to something else with full explaining to the players why the change of heart. I smell a dead fish.

  36. Oh NOW you want to believe Tim Brown because Jerry Rice confirmed it? As if you cannot piece things together and realize that Callahan has had a reputation for years throughout the league; partially why he can’t get another head coaching gig? Goodness you people are so dense.

  37. Strong words and a very serious accusation. I respect Jerry Rice but I need more evidence then mere heresy before drawing any conclusions.

  38. Here in Bay Area, the 49ers Super Bowl trip is being almost overshadowed by this.

    Just an hour ago Rod Woodson and Bill Romanokski were in studio together in San Francisco and both were upset with Tim Brown’s choice of words as sabotage. Maybe the defensive guys did not get the same insight, but there is a fracture in that 2003 team.

    It was 10 years ago.

    10 years!

    And the Raiders have not been relevant since.

  39. So you have two of the most prolific pass receivers in the history of the NFL complaining because their coach was calling a lot of passing plays. That makes sense.

  40. If Rice is right, the integrity of the game just took a big hit. And if he is just siding with Brown for whatever reason, shame on him.

  41. One funny thing about the Callahan era is the Raider players finding a game ball that they gave Callahan in the garbage. The Callahan era did not end well in 2003.

    Man it’s been hell being Raider fan since then. Except the past two years when we had Hue Jackson…….but then we replace Hue Jackson with Gregg Knapp – the OC that left behind the mess that Hue Jackson had to clean up.

    Matter of fact..I agree with Bill Callahan. We have got to be the dumbest team in America.

  42. This is way better than that fake dead girlfriend story.

    As a RAIDERS fan, this is a little too much to digest. The RAIDERS were very good 2000-2002, but had a run a bad luck.
    2000- Siragusa bellyflops on Gannon, Ravens win the SB
    2001- Tuck rule, cheating chowds win the SB
    2002- Callahan calls a horrible game, Gruden wins the SB

    If the ball had bounced the other way, by my twisted RAIDERS math, the RAIDERS win 3 SB’s in a row.

    But they didn’t, the old man freaked and the RAIDERS have yet to recover, 12 seasons later. Brutal.


  43. If true its not that they passed 3 more times then the game before. Its that for 2 weeks they gameplanned for a run heavy offense and then 2 days before the SB coach says oh nevermind lets do what we have been doing. If I was a player that would piss me off too!

  44. If you are going to suspend Payton, Vitt, and Greg Williams for conduct detremental to the integrity of the game….then the NFL needs to open up and investigation.

    If this is true, then they all need to be punished like the Saints coaches and GM…and this is coming from a Bronco fan.

  45. I think we have to start taking this seriously, not just because Jerry Rice agrees with it….but now that I think back….and I do remember the game vividly….I always wondered how it seemed as if the Bucs knew the Raiders gameplan.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Bucs had a great defense, but it was as if they knew where the ball was going to go and what play was being called. Dexter Jackson was made to look like an all-pro DB and we all know that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

    Yea, I always wondered about that game — it seems as if I found my answer.

  46. I remember Gannon loved to dink pass right over the middle. He did it all year long. When the S.B. came the Bucs stuffed the middle of the field and applied pressure up the middle. The center bailing is a great mystery but he was certifiable. I also got the impression that Gannon ran the offense and would never bow to a coach like Callahan. If this is true you could study the tape and watch for some subtle hand signals from Callahan to Gruden before every play,lol….

  47. Why does this come out now? Who cares what happened so long ago? And how did the offense change make the defense stink?

    Finally, it is the Raiders, and who cares?

  48. What cost them the game was the fact that offense wins games and defense wins championships. The Tampa defense was dominant for ten yeats…one of the longest lasting defenses of all time.

    To this day teams are trying to mimmick it.

    And why would a coach sabotage his value? If he had won he could have named his own price.

    The simple fact…both the Raiders and the Falcons fall short of glory. Every time.

  49. You’re not counting the sacks and the two short runs by Gannon which were probably drop-backs that turned into scrambles. He dropped back around 50 times in that game, which is just crazy.

  50. I remember this team actually describing their dump off, swing, and screen passes as their runs. This was in no way a team that was going into a game with a running attack planned.

  51. This just might be crazier than the whole Te’o faux girlfriend story. Two All-Pro wide receivers complaining about throwing the ball too much. I thought receivers just complained when the ball wasn’t thrown enough.

  52. Tim Brown clearly stated that it was his opinion that the game was sabotaged. He said he couldn’t prove sabotage. He formed this opinion due to the change in game plan on Friday. His opinion may not be correct but that doesn’t make him a liar.

    He is a liar if the game plan wasn’t changed on Friday. My guess is that nobody here was in the room, including MDS. You have every right to disagree with his opinion. That doesn’t make your opinion correct either.

  53. take everything that TBrown and JRice said .. then add in the fact that the playcall terminology was NOT changed going into the SB against the previous coach who created that terminology .. sure doesn’t seem to be the actions of a coach trying to win.

    common man .. did NOT change the terms that the opposing coach created??? and you expect to win? really???

  54. (1) This explains perfectly what sent Robbins over the edge. The guy had played 9 years and never flaked out before. He had played in the playoffs including the AFC Championship game. For someone dealing with anxiety/depression/bi-polar a sudden and unexpected stressor such as changing a game plan with no time to practice or prepare easily could have triggered this. As fans we all know how much preparation is put into every game. I cannot imagine what would motivate a coach to do something like this. I would be interested to know if something like this has ever happened before.

    (2) Changing a game plan the Friday night before a Super Bowl without practicing it is completely idiotic. There is a fine line between being a complete idiot and sabotaging a game. If you are dumb enough you can look like you are throwing a game even if you consciously aren’t doing it. When teams aren’t prepared they are not going to play confident and make good decisions. It is no wonder Gannon threw so many picks that game. It is also no wonder Callahan has been exposed as an incompetent at both the college and pro levels.

    To me, whether Callahan intentionally lost the game or just idiotically lost it, the real story is that the loss is largely on him for putting his team at such a disadvantage. I know it doesn’t completely absolve Gannon for his turnovers, or the Raiders in general for the loss, but it certainly does put much of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Callahan. I’m interested in hearing his response to it.

  55. Ask yourself this, if Callahan knew Gruden knew all of the Raiders audible calls, why didn’t he change them or call them and switch up the routes. He should of used Grudens knowledge against him and he didn’t. Rice and Brown statements are supported a lot right there.

  56. I recall Rick Reilly writing, “…the Raiders came into town like checkpoint Dobermans and left like Joan Rivers poodle”.

    Only HOFer in this discussion is Rice.

  57. What’s “ridiculous” is this article. At the beginning of the post (and in other posts), you are making the argument that Rice and Brown were taking issue with the last-minute change in game plan. Regardless of if they were a pass-heavy offense, or a run-heavy offense before the Super Bowl, the plan that Callahan put together for the game was a run-first plan, that was switched at last minute to pass-first. That changes everything about the way every player on offense approaches the game.

    You can’t argue two different angles in one post. THAT’S ridiculous!

  58. 1. Need to interview Kirby for the full story. Maybe he’s ready to come clean.

    2. edavidberg’s post hits the nail on the head.

    3. Brown’s been saying this for years, but that still doesn’t necessarily make his ideas correct.

    4. Richie G allegedly needed plenty of therapy to get past that loss. Of course he won’t want to revisit it. Romo won’t necessarily know though he was close to Al in later years and bleeds silver and black, so there may be some protection of Al’s legacy here.

    5. No way does Timmy get into the HoF now.

  59. why did he wait 10 years? he didn’t.. he’s been saying this for YEARS and espn just decided to run with it this time… tim brown, jerry rice, and jon ritchie are probably the most well respected players from that team and if theyre saying it there must be at least some truth to it… at the very least callahan should have changed the terminology so gruden didnt know all of their plays.. that in itself is could be considered sabatoge… its also no secret that he was good friends with gruden and didnt want to be in oakland…. so you can believe people like bill romanowski who wasnt in the offensive meeting rooms and is really a bronco at heart.. or you can believe 2 of the greatest recievers of all time who are saying they DIDNT want the ball for once

  60. So Jerry Rice thinks that Bill Callahan didn’t like him so that escalated into him not liking the Raiders which escalated into him throwing/sabotaging potentially his only shot at a Super Bowl. Ego much Jerry? I’m not buying it, IMO no NFL coach would ever throw a SB unless his or his Families’ welfare depended on it.

  61. Rice is a punk. He was kept in line by Ronnie Lott, or he’d be ridiculed by many for his critical comments. He threw Moss under the bus when Moss didn’t glowingly praise Rice after he broke his record, and now Rice is throwing Callahan under the bus b/c he bitched how he didn’t get the ball as much as he wanted. No respect for him at all, especially now.

  62. The Raiders defense sucked – when it was the offense having to provide it on those interception run backs. Their Raiders offense was great – when it was the defense providing it by scoring points for them. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

  63. Rice says “maybe” this is what set off Robbins; he doesn’t say that it without a doubt did. MDS you’re putting words into Rice’s mouth. Also, I think Rice was probably in a better position to know Robbins and what he was going through than you.

  64. Sounds like alot of the people commenting were not around for Jerry Rice and Tim Brown’s careers. I’m not sure there were 2 more respected players in the game and they were DEFINITELY not like the diva WR’s you see today. Being a Cowboys fan I hated that the 9’ers had rice and that Tim Brown spurned the Boys to re-sign with the Raiders for his final years but I would have to give some credence to what they are saying. It sounds to me like they held this in for quite awhile and now that it’s out, I’m sure we have only heard the beginning.

  65. I watched it. ESPN was backpeddling trying to get Rice to change his position in order to restore credability to his sport.

    Rice couldn’t…Because, he’s not a liar. He claimed only on what he saw and what he knew as a veteran player was fraud. Not only was the gameplan changed but why were the Raiders even trying to gameplan a running game when the players were programmed in pass mode all year?

    Because, to practice it for 2 weeks only to then change it again would put them at a disadvantage. Basically the Raiders went 2 weeks with nothing rehearsed.

    To claim that Gruden knew the plays, just makes it more fraudalent to me. If thats true, then wouldn’t Callahan know Gruden’s scheme’s? He’s competant to beat Jeff Fisher in the playoffs but only to be totally inept against Jon Gruden?

    My eyes, heart and now ears tell me it was sabbatoged. Bucs fans, I’m sorry.

  66. “I have all the respect in the world for Jerry Rice, but blaming Callahan for Robbins’ actions is ridiculous. Robbins is a man who has struggled with mental illness for most of his life. A man who struggles with mental illness is battling demons much more profound than a coach changing his game plan”

    Its called a trigger MDS. Blaming Callahan is a bit much I agree but to think that couldnt have been what freaked him out is ignorant.

  67. Just because they only threw 44 times doesn’t mean he didn’t call for them to throw it over 60 times. The QB could have changed the play at the line of scrimmage.

  68. Jerry Rice, are you serious? I know it was tough to lose one (don’t blame the 9ers, they tried to retire you gracefully), but is your ego so large that you can accept that you actually lost the game? No one cheated, you lost. No one sabotaged the team from within, you lost.

    Brown and Rice, two great WRs who each think they were better than the other. The questions for us is: who’s ego is larger? In order to continue this story, they both don’t want to believe that they lost due to lack of talent and skill. “We lost, and we are so good, someone must have set us up to fail on purpose.” That team wasn’t that good. This wasn’t a “lost rings” team.

    Accept it…you lost the game because they were better! Respect lost for both of you. Jerry Rice is still the greatest though and I love everything he did for the 9ers, but just look at what the raiders have done to him in a short few years.

  69. Jerry Rice is a great player but a sore loser. He hates his records being broken every time so a SB loss is something he cant take. Easy to blame coach.

  70. Why would this ruin Tim’s credability? He was a great player and this has nothing to do with anything he has done on the field.

    Whats more shocking is that Tim’s pretty respected, then Rice backs him up. Buc’s fans need to quit reaching. We all watched the SuperBowl, watched that defense JUMP those routes as if they knew it was coming. They sacked Gannon as if they KNEW he was passing.

    Perhaps Callahan is the scapegoat, so now everyone blames the deceased Davis…How conveniant. How about the NFL? The only thing I agree with is that Oakland never had a chance, because NO WAY the NFL was gonna let AL win another SuperBowl.

  71. The idea that Callahan could do ANYTHING regarding the Raiders without Al Davis knowing about it is preposterous. So if the game plan was changed, it was changed because Davis wanted it changed.

  72. There’s something amusing about Tim Brown and Jerry Rice claiming that Bill Callahan sabotaged the Raiders chances to win the Super Bowl … by trying to get the ball to Tim Brown and Jerry Rice early and often.

    Of course Brown and Rice could have thrown a monkey wrench into Callahan’s nefarious plans by making more plays and maybe scoring a few TDs.

  73. I met Jerry Rice the day after the Super Bowl in the hotel the Raiders were staying at in La Jolla and he mentioned to me that “the Raiders should have thrown the ball to him more” and that is why they lost.

    Uh…..doesn’t go with what he is saying today.

  74. For the author of this article to call what Brown and Rice is saying “ridiculous” is telling. MDS sounds like a shill for the NFL here. This is a major scandal and the two men accusing Callahan are two of his biggest stars. It was easier to marginalize Brown earlier in the day, but for Rice to make such an extraordinary claim given his reputation is much harder to attack.

    It’s no longer a matter of one man’s opinion is it? The author of this story has absolutely no inside knowledge of the day’s events, but he’s willing to call two of the greatest receivers in history liars. That sounds strange to me.

    It’s yet another gambling scandal for the NFL and this one is going to be hard to dismiss.

  75. I don’t understand why people just can’t go on youtube and re watch that Superbowl before claiming that Rice, Brown and Gardner are sore losers.

    Use all the information you now have and I advise to re watch it. It looks to me the Bucs players knew the plays and the gameplan. Not only that the Raiders looked exactly like a team who hasn’t played in 2 weeks, which they really haven’t because practicing a game plan for a week only to then have it changed would absolutley throw you off.

    So, I don’t get why some of you have a hard time understanding why these guys who worked hard as hell to get there, then have funny stuff happen to not question it.

    You guys say why now? He’s said it before, its because its SuperBowl week that the media is choosing to talk about it now.

  76. The reason Gannon threw 5 picks in that game was because of how familiar he was with Gannon and the play calling. Gruden actually put on shoulder pads and a helmet and played the part of Gannon in the practices leading up to the game. He told his players that Gannon would take the snap, look one way, pump fake, then look back the other way and throw. He told them not to bite on the pump fake.

    The rest is history…

  77. I remember the NFL Films version of that Super Bowl with John Lynch mic’d up. It seemed he knew the plays the Raiders were gonna run just by the formations the Raider’s lined up in.

    As for Barrett Robins – he didn’t go AWOL becausde he disliked the game plan for that week. He wen’t AWOL because he’s a Bipolar alcoholic

  78. Obviously, you don’t remember that famous saying by Calahan “We’ve got to be the worst football team in the league”. That tells me that Calahan didn’t like the Raiders at all and that he wanted to throw the SuperBowl and make the Raiders look like that comment that he’s famous for. Another reason he changed the plays two days before the game, which lead to Barrett Robins not showing up, is that he wanted the Raiders to get embarrassed to millions around the world who are watching the game. Enough said.

  79. So dumb on the Robbins front…CLEARLY Rice isn’t saying Callahan is *responsible* for all of his troubles…he’s basically saying what Brown said—Robbins was already a fragile soul, & massively changing the gameplan on him last minute (where he’d be responsible for all the calls) was what set him off (for that game, the biggest game of his life)…

  80. This doesn’t make a bit of sense. There are way better ways to sabotage a team than to switch to calling more pass plays. It’s not like he made up new plays 2 days before the game. They were still pass plays the team practiced and used all year. And nobody could be THAT spiteful to give up all the fame, money, and job security that comes with coaching a winning super bowl team!

  81. Saying that Callahan “called on the Raiders to throw over 60 times” isn’t disproven by the fact that they didn’t run enough offensive plays to reach 60 pass attempts.

    Rice and Brown are saying that he *intended* to do that.

  82. the reisfootballwestofjersey

    How do you know he didn’t become bipolar alchoholic because of the gameplan?

    Up to that game, never seemed to have issues. So I guess the biggest game of his life he forfeited. Really?

    Ok, but why is it harder to believe that he didn’t like the gameplan, knew it was phony, and said he didn’t want nothing to do with it. How do you know he didn’t do the honorable thing.

    Well, now this news comes out. Just so happens that perhaps he DID do the honorable thing and didn’t want to participant in a fixed game.

  83. Also, it makes plenty of sense to shift away from a passing gameplan when the guy you’re playing against is the one who designed that passing offense.

    Or have you never seen the video of John Lynch screaming out “sluggo seam” right before the Bucs jumped all over a, you guessed it, sluggo seam route for an INT?

  84. I see how this lines up now, Jerry Jones heard about this so he promoted Callahan to OC so he can do the same to Garrett and then bring in Callaham’s best friend……Gruden

  85. Bill Callahan has to say something. He has to say something. I’m a Saints fan. And, if you thought RG came down hard on SP, if there’s even the remotest chance that this is true it’s going to be hell to pay. Now, this is just my opinion but I don’t think Bill Callahan threw the Superbowl. Even, if that was something he considered doing, I think the competative instinct would have kicked in and he would have done his damnest to win that game. But, the men in question never really had any issues in the league. I don’t know but this is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen or heard.

  86. Someone has to ask why wouldn’t Callahan change the play calls though? Was he just that stupid? I mean that would of been the first thing he should of did once they found out the were playing Gruden.

  87. In his ESPN appearance, Rice said Callahan called on the Raiders “to throw the ball over 60 times.” But the Raiders didn’t throw the ball 60 times or even 50 times. They threw 44 times — exactly three more times than they had thrown the ball the week before, when they won the AFC Championship Game.

    Obviously MDS hasn’t watched a football game before. If the the defensive team intercepts the offensive teams pass, it’s called a turnover, and you can’t keep throwing the ball anymore. So if they threw the ball 44 times but had five interceptions, odds are, without those five interceptions, they would have had been about 60 passes.

    Besides, if the Tampa Bay defense was so dominate, name a game before or after that SuperBowl where they were just as dominate?

    What was Gruden’s record after that season?

  88. 69finfan says:
    Jan 22, 2013 5:58 PM

    … IMO no NFL coach would ever throw a SB unless his or his Families’ welfare depended on it….


    I totally agree.

    The “icing on the cake” of a coaches career would be a SB ring. It’s so difficult just to get to compete in one, I just find it too hard to believe that a coach is going to throw his 1st chance to get that ring.

  89. Jerry Rice chiming in actually adds credibility to all this, for me at least. It’s hard to dispute what such a class act, not to mention the GOAT, has to say on the topic. He was there, after all. None of us were. I’d take Rice’s word over Romanowski’s, that’s for sure.

  90. Why the heck is this coming out so late?? Have these guys been harboring this for this long?

    Personally, I always thought it was the fact Gruden knew the Raiders inside and out, and could prep his team perfectly.

    At this point its just conjecture. Unless Calahan admits it, there is no way to know what was in his head.

  91. There has to be more to this story. Players such as Tim Brown and Jerry Rice wouldn’t say things like this if there wasn’t some truth.

  92. It seems that the media chooses to ignore the importance of first-hand sources whenever they choose to. I mean nobody who is writing a story or speaking on this occurrence was there yet, they are so quick to discredit Rice and Brown. I’d rather side with the players who were there and played in the NFL over the opinion of some talking heads who come from the Mant’i Teo School of Thought.

  93. The Raiders passed the ball more than any team during the regular season. Then, they threw the ball a lot during the first part of the playoffs. Finally, they threw the ball a lot in the Super Bowl. How exactly did he sabotage the game? Tim Brown is bitter because ,although a fantastic player, he does not have the name recognition of many of his peers. How careless it is for these two guys to blame the mental breakdown of a mentally ill person on the coaches game plan. It must have been that because he has been so mentally stable ever since(note the sarcasm).

  94. Why this has come out now is beyond me. Rice and Brown are two of the best recievers in the history of the NFL. They are also credible. What they are saying is not based on fact but strictly on opinion. I don’t think they are lying.

    Rich Gannon and a few other players do not side with Rice and Brown. They interpreted what went on diffrently.

    There’s no right or wrong. Just opinions with no proof of any sabotage.

  95. If the GOAT says it then it MUST be true. I was inclined to not believe Tim Brown, but with Rice echoing his statements they gain instant credibility.

  96. Looks like about a hundred people here on this board think they know more about the situation than a hall of fame receiver who was actually on the team.

    Can’t fix stupid.

  97. The author must be joking with the last 3 paragraphs of this article.

    1. It’s not possible to “throw the ball over 60 times” when you only run 55 TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS.

    2. Throwing the ball often in the AFC Championship game vs Tennessee (41 passes, 18 runs) made a lot of sense. The Titans ranked #25 vs the pass with 6.7 ypa, 27 TDs, 18 INTs.
    Throwing the ball MORE in the Super Bowl vs Tampa Bay (44 passes, 11 runs) was in inconceivably stupid. The Bucs ranked #1 vs the pass with 5.5 ypa, 10 TDs, 31 INTs.

    3. While the Raiders’ identity was a passing team, in the regular season they still ran the ball 40% of the time despite often playing against teams helpless to stop their passing attack. Against the Bucs they only ran the ball 20% of the time despite facing an elite pass defense, arguably the best pass defense of any team in a decade.

    Kudos for reporting Rice’s comment’s, but the author’s conclusions are terrible. The author is wrong to suggest that the Raiders passed as often throughout the season as they did in the Super Bowl. And the author is especially wrong to suggest that it made any sense to pass as often in the Super Bowl as they did in the regular season, let alone as much as they ACTUALLY did in the Super Bowl.

    P.S. @fuzzebear, Brown has been privately saying this stuff for many years. Richie’s take about the late gameplan switch has been public for years as well. Why Brown chose now to make it public, I don’t know, maybe after 10 years he just had enough of hearing people comment on the game without knowing the real story.

  98. This accusation isn’t new. Raider fans on ESPN and a few on the last article regarding this said they heard of it since 2003.

    And the way other Raider players are treating it, hell the way some fans that aren’t fans of either teams are that remember the game. It looks like this has a lot of truth to it.

    Florio just doesn’t want to admit it, especially with Barret but we’ll only know 100% through Barret’s own words. I’m sure he can phone call in a statement, at least mail one.

  99. As a Nebraska Cornhusker fan who suffered through the Bill Callahan years … I wouldn’t put this past Callahan.

    Every team he’s been associated with has ended in disaster. He is a disaster.

  100. Somewhere in Florida, Monti’ Teo is saying “Thank God for Tim Brown and Jerry Rice!!!”

  101. I’m a longtime Niner fan and Jerry Rice fan, but while I wasn’t there to see what was going on with the Raiders one way or the other, this is a heavy accusation and seems a bit far fetched. If Callahan actually did throw his own team under the bus that way, he’d be throwing himself there as well. Or did he think getting his can handed to him in the SB would enhance his coaching resume?

    Also, if I remember correctly, didn’t Callahan pull Rice from a game at one point and wouldn’t put him back in while he didn’t yet have a catch in that game, snapping Rice’s consecutive games with a catch streak? I don’t think Rice was very happy about it either.

  102. There is no way I believe this. It has no merit and Zach Crockett, who was on that team paints a different picture stating Callahan changed the plans because Robbins had abandoned the team. If I recall correctly the Raiders were a passing team that year. I remember like it was yesterday because I was playing a guy in fantasy football, winning by 40 points on a Sunday Night Football game and Rich Gannon threw the ball like 50 times. Completing most of them to Rice and Brown on quick slants and out patterns. BTW I lost that fantasy game, if anyone cares…lol

  103. I don’t know about changing the gameplan on Friday…none of us do, because we weren’t there. But, I think most of us can agree it was REALLY STUPID not to change the play calls when the opposing coach created them. As for the center going AWOL, just the stress of playing in the super bowl could be enough to push someone over the edge, IF : they weren’t taking their medication; their medication wasn’t working; and/or they were drinking or using other drugs excessively. Blaming the coach is a stretch.

  104. After seeing how loserhan completly dismantled, discredited, and destroyed a true national power of a collage football program in my beloved Huskers I can believe he did throw the SB. This will sound a bit insane but as God is my wittness back when bc was coaching my Huskers here in Lincoln into losing oblivital obscerety I told many people that I thought Vegas oddsmakers had somehow someway found a way to plant this coach on the take in Lincoln to destroy my Huskers. I said it as often as I could to whomever would listen. Fact here people…this guy took down all the records/awards/honors/accomplishments (like it or not, you all know the Huskers have a plethera of ’em) from view of former Husker players/teams AND wouldn’t allow foremer players…STAR players…. into the athletic facility….yes he banned them from Memorial stadium!! What kind of a coach with even one brain cell in his head would do something as idiotic as that?? Its a fact that wherever loserhan goes awfull follows. I’m sorry for the spelling, cell phone and no spell check.

  105. Has Jerry Rice ever been considered unprofessional once in in his career? I think he is without question one of the most respected and may just be the greatest football player of all time. I believe Jerry Rice has nothing to gain about lying about the situation.

  106. Jerry Rice has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Why would he tarnish his G.O.A.T. career with a bunch of lies about a SB played 10 years ago?

    He wouldn’t. It happened.

    Callahan needs to speak and so does the rest of the coaching staff from that SB team, which I believe includes Jim Harbaugh.

  107. As Packer fan the running the ball versus Tampa was the way to go during their peak.

    In 2002, they let Favre throw versus Tampa and he threw 4 picks and got Chad Clifton killed, taking a loss.

    In 2003, they cut Favre’s attempts by 1/3rd and made him play conservative. The Packers ran for almost 200 yards (passed for less than 100) and won the game.

  108. For all you so called Raider fan that thumb up Jasonculhane that guy doesnt remember that there was only a week between conference championship game and the Superbowl that year..Each team had their week prep time like a regular season game. Don’t think the Raiders coaches had the time to change the playbook which was created by Gruden..You losted the Superbowl when the Buc beat the Eagle the week before..

  109. Im unsure of the name for that bowl game, wasnt it the upchuck bowl? Somethin crazy like that..
    i had suspision since tim came out and said that back when he was first eligable for ballot. I thought he had nerve but if jerry rice says its a possibility, i gotta take his word, he knows the game (football and life) its not idiotic to think it was, i mean i was so jealous that the raiders poored the coffers and put an all madden team together like they did, poor fanbase didnt realize what the eventual cap casualties would be for doing that! The old guy davis couldnt trust his trustees and he put all for nothin for nothin, i mean dang rich gannon, charlie garner, wheaton, that massive OL. Then her comes Tim and Jerry, ya’ll remember that lil one?? Plus a smash mouth defense, only problem is, they let the ring leader walk to a competitive team like the Bucs!, and i guess thats why it is what it is, they lost because the coaching wasnt up to par!

  110. Oh yeah lmao, Robbins, im sorry man, you knew the whole time the plays didnt change, coulda said somethin, anything before the playoffs started! Caught up in the lights i guess, its all goodm wish you got grabbed up by a real org like the niners, you were awesome dude, biff ups happen, ease your mind dude!!

  111. Shoulda hired jim harbaugh as head coach, he woulda made the changing of the play calls, and we see now how he coulda changed the gameplan to best the oppossing team, management is numero uno people! Players are needed as much as great coaching!
    run run run, then fake run pass because??? Duhh they try to fill the box, thats just fundamental thinking, they showed why its not wise to not include your run game!

  112. I have to say there is some merit to this theory for a couple of reasons.

    1. I watched this super bowl and I remember the sideline camera catching Jerry Porter saying very loudly early in the game (when it was still in contention) that he wanted to ‘see what their guts were like. Let’s RUN the ball’.

    2. I also remember the sideline camera on the Bucs side catching their defenders saying ‘They’re doing exactly what coach said they were going to do’.

    3. The 2002 Raiders weren’t THAT pass happy in the regular season. Their in season run/pass play balance was 619 passes to 414 runs. They scored 26 TDs in the air and 21 on the ground. That’s no where near what happened in the Super Bowl

    4. Play balance in the super bowl for the Raiders was 44 passes to 11 runs. That is pure lunacy. Any coach worth 2 cents would know you cant win a game that way.

    5. In the first half of the game, the Raiders trailed 20-3 and were getting the ball back at half time. Their play balance the first half? 8 Runs (1 by Gannon and two to run the clock to half time, and two by the FULL BACK) to 21 pass attempts/sacks.

    6. No Charlie Garner?? The guy had almost 1000 yards rushing AND receiving in the same year. Averaged 5 plus yards per carry and 10 plus yards per reception.. and yet he got 7 carries (again, two to end the first half) the whole game. Makes no sense, especially when the game was still in contention at the half. He was targeted only 3 times in the first half for plays of 8, 6, and 8 yards.

    7. The best way to beat a Cover 2 defense is to run right at it. The worst way to beat a cover to defense is to keep passing the ball when the pass rush is effective. Is there anyone that doesn’t know this? Didn’t Callahan?

    8. Gannon had a whopping 7 completions and 2 INTs in the first half. Was that game plan working so well that it didn’t have to be adjusted in the Super Bowl?

    9. To have lost this Super Bowl this way with hall of fame talent on the field, you have to wonder is Bill Callahan the worst Super Bowl coach EVER, or was something else afoot? Given the relationship between coaches and the hard evidence, its hard to call it completely out of the question.

  113. If Callahan truely hated the Raiders why would he throw any games especially the super bowl, I would think the quickest way out of LA for an offensive cordinator would be to win the super bowl and write your ticket as head coach somewhere else…….

  114. What if Callahan really did pooch the game (and that’s a big “if”)… but not for the silly reason that he liked Jon Grudin?

    Think Pete Rose was the only athlete who liked to gamble? What if Callahan had a ton of money riding on the game? Wouldn’t leaving the audibles unchanged, flip-flopping on the game plan, and hoping to set off your volatile center be great ways to influence the score – all without creating a paper trail? To channel Richard Milhouse Nixon: “I am not a crook. I am just a lousy head coach, with stupid players.”

    Like conspiracy theories? Let’s take it one step further. What if Callahan had p*ssed off some really important, shady characters, and was told that if he didn’t guarantee a Raider loss, his wife and family would be killed?

    REALLY like conspiracy theories? What if it was Al Davis who wanted / needed the game thrown? (Come to think of it, this whack-job theory would explain a lot about Al Davis, wouldn’t it?)

    Just sayin. Maybe there is truth to Brown’s and Rice’s suspicions. Just because we can’t imagine Callahan fawning at Gruden’s feet, doesn’t mean there couldn’t be other explanations.

    (Opening bag of popcorn….)

  115. redfield11 says: Jan 22, 2013 5:01 PM

    For the love of god people, that team gave up 40+ points it doesn’t matter what the offense did, defense is what got crushed.

    The Bucs scored at least two defensive touchdowns (just going off blind memory, may have been three). That was the difference in the game, moron.

  116. derfshambeaux says:
    Jan 22, 2013 5:14 PM
    It’s not so much that he changed the gameplan at the last minute, but c’mon, he never changed the offensive calls? Seriously? Sabatoge or not, you don’t stand a chance when your opponent in the Super Bowl knows your play calls.

    How do you think the Patriots won three Superbowls?

  117. This is ridiculous, just as are the comments that just because St. Rice has opened his yap the conspiracy theory must be true. Let’s see what else we can come up with. In 1973, Yogi Berra sabotaged the Mets 3-2 World Series lead by pitching Seaver in G6 and rookie Jon Matlock in Game 7. And Brady-Bellichek purposely ruined their undefeated season by scheming to let Tyree make that ridiculous catch on 4th and long to keep the Giants game winning drive alive in the Super Bowl. I can’t stand LeBron James, so I guess the 2011 NBA championship loss he and his fellow stacked team associates conspired to lose that, too. These players need to shut up, accept their losses and deficiencies and then find something real to worry about.

  118. Regardless of the validity of the accusations, that locker room has to be the most dysfunctional of all time. THAT responsibility rests with the top mentally ill person on Raiders, Al Davis.

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