Tim Brown’s allegations about Super Bowl XXXVII fade, but questions remain

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We agree wholeheartedly with the opinions expressed by Peter King in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback and elsewhere regarding the merit (or more accurately lack thereof) of former Raiders receiver Tim Brown’s non-allegation allegation that former Raiders coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” a 10-year-old Super Bowl.  But some questions remain as the latest Super Bowl week commences.

First, will 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh be asked about the situation at one of his many media availabilities this week?  Harbaugh, who was a first-year offensive assistant with the Raiders in 2002, wasn’t asked about it on Sunday night when the team arrived.  And given the extent to which the story has faded in recent days, he may not be asked about it at all.

Second, did the Raiders’ game plan change two days before the game?  Brown’s ludicrous opinion of sabotage comes from his belief, as a factual matter, that Callahan changed the game plan.  So did he?  There has been no definitive answer provided to that question.

Third, did the Raiders fail to change audibles and line calls?  It has been presumed for nearly a decade that the Raiders didn’t account for the fact that former Oakland coach Jon Gruden knew the code words that would be used at the line of scrimmage on offense.  But Peter King’s dismantling of the sabotage theory in the latest Monday Morning Quarterback extends to the notion that the Bucs knew what the Raiders were planning to do.  The game broadcast, however, contained strong evidence to the contrary.

Tampa Bay safety John Lynch wore a microphone, and he plainly can be heard telling former Bucs defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin after the Raiders fell behind 20-3 late in the first half, “Mike, every play they’ve run, we ran in practice.  It’s unreal.”

Said Tomlin, “I know.”

Whatever the reason, the Buccaneers’ dominance was enough, we’re told, to prompt Raiders receiver Jerry Rice to rip the microphone he was wearing during the game from his pads and flush it down a toilet at halftime.

Fourth, given that King believes Brown’s assertion is “utterly preposterous” and that King is one of the voters for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will this mess keep Brown out for another year?  The voters will swear that they don’t consider anything other than what happens on the field, in accordance with the Hall of Fame’s bylaws.  But as we explained in our one-time-and-one-time-only PFT season preview magazine (which apparently made a cameo appearance several months ago in an episode of Mike & Molly on CBS), the human beings who cast the votes are influenced by the things that tend to influence the decisions made by human beings.

If it’s a close call between Brown and someone else as a given voter makes the excruciating descent from 15 modern-era finalists to up to five modern-era enshrinees, Brown’s assertions could be viewed, consciously or otherwise, as reflecting the kind of disrespect for and misunderstanding of the game that could be the factor pushing that person one way or the other.

There would be no hard proof of it, and none of the voters will risk their vote by proclaiming publicly that they sabotaged Brown’s candidacy in part because of his claim of sabotage.  But it definitely could, in a close case, be a factor — and we’d never know that it was.

19 responses to “Tim Brown’s allegations about Super Bowl XXXVII fade, but questions remain

  1. Crazy people don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He should have kept his ‘tin foil hat’ paranoia under wraps till he got in. Too late now.

  2. Peter King, really?

    Mike, Nobody cares what Peter King thinks, nobody.

    Why you keep talking about what he thinks is way beyond me.


  3. Rich Gannon League MVP
    Oakland Raiders #1 in total offense
    Oakland Raiders #1 in passing offense
    Oakland Raiders #18 in rushing yards per game
    Yeah I’m sure any coach with those stat lines would say before the biggest game of their career… “Eh lets try and run it against the 5th ranked rushing D”. The Raiders had 16 TOTAL rushing yards at half time. Just a thought there Timmy, leave the dead horse alone.

  4. I’m surprised that the Raiders players and fans haven’t somehow tried to blame this on the Tuck Rule, one year prior.

    It seems they’ve got a long list of reasons why its always someone else’s fault that they lose.

  5. If Tampa knew their audibles, unchanged from previous games, wouldn’t that indicate that they had compiled film on the Raiders and had analyzed audibles and play calling?

    Although we know that even today, coordinators try to cover their mouths when calling in plays (which still doesn’t prevent a telescopic mic from picking up the calls), there’s a great many fans who have spent years convincing themselves that one and only one team in the NFL has ever filmed and analyzed play calling.

    Of course there’s no rule against this – Goodell simply would prefer to foster the perception that such “cheating” never occurs.

  6. Brown should be the top rated guy among eligibles. If he doesn’t get in, there’s your answer.

  7. Any chance that Tim Brown had of being enshrined was sabotaged when he made this statement so close to the Super Bowl. No way he gets in now. To be honest, I doubt that another Raider will ever be enshrined even if its well deserved. Such is the bias of the east coast media.

  8. Peter King has a job to keep and he needs to protect his access to league people. Peter King is therefore bought and paid for.

  9. There would be no hard proof of it, and none of the voters will risk their vote by proclaiming publicly that they sabotaged Brown’s candidacy in part because of his claim of sabotage.

    The statement in your article is an outright lie. Paul Zimmerman has stated publicly that he would never ever vote for Ken Stabler for the HOF. Is this slim ball still voting? I believe he is. One of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game is being black balled by Zimmerman and others. The people who vote for the HOF are corrupt.

  10. I think the two questions that continue to be ignored are:

    1) Why would Bill use all the same plays that Gruden used? If your a head coach you implement your own plays, schemes, and philosophies. ie. Jim Caldwell isn’t running the exact same plays as his predecessor Cam Cameron. Todd Bowles didn’t run the same exact defense that Juan Castillo ran. These two coaches took over in the middle of the 2012 season. Peter King actually expects us to believe that Bill Callahan changed nothing with regards to the offense used by the Raiders that season? He was the Head coach all throughout the season and coached in Oakland one year beyond the super bowl.

    2) If you loose your starting center you don’t switch the game plan from Run heavy to Pass heavy with a back up center. Coaches “dumb down” the game plan for backups. That typically equates to a more conservative game plan (running the football). It’s easier for OL to Run block then to pass protect and in this case a back up Center calling out O Line adjustments.

    Just something to ponder. NFL teams do so much research when they Invest in players, I find it very difficult to believe that the Raiders didn’t know about Robbins Bi-polar condition.

    I’m equally skeptical as to why Brown waited a decade before voicing these sentiments.

  11. Whatever. As a RAIDERS fan this does not sit well.

    Worst case scenario Callahan is corrupt, best case scenario Callahan is incompetent.
    He did not change the calls, it’s obvious. Whether that equals sabotage is irrelevant. This act alone is an indicment on Callahan.

    As for Brown making it to the HOF- he is a RAIDER the chances are slim. It just speaks to the anti-RAIDER sentiment that is prevalent in the league- mostly by bitter owners and ignorant fans- sometimes by “journalists” with a HOF vote, right Gantt?


  12. ‘Ludicrous’ is too strong a word to use when a Pro’s Pro like Jerry Rice goes out on a very long limb to back Tim Brown’s theory. Perhaps there is a middle-ground here: We all know people who have done seemingly bad or weird things, perhaps not fully consciously, but when you closely examine the complicated emotional history involved…you discover that the perpetrator was at least reckless in letting that bad or weird thing happen. Like, for example, not changing audible calls that he knows, on some level, the opposition knows…

  13. im investing part of my life to get to the bottom of this,

    that game set me back a few years.

    i think tim brown and jerry rice were onto something…

  14. gotta love the haters comments…..bottom line even when former raiders who played in that game defended coach callahan, none of them questioned that they kept the same “Gruden” playbook, but why they didn’t change the name of the play that gruden used. I mean when Gannon was calling out , the play, there is no doubt about it that the Tampa Bay D knew exactly what play they were running.

    So if everybody wants to retract from saying “sabotage” so be it, but nobody can deny that is one of the greatest coaching blunders ever. I personally have no problem saying Callahan made one of the dumbest decisions ever bu a coach, on the grandest of stages, and could easily be perceived as sabotage. I just wonder why this all resurfacing now at a larger scale then it did right after the super bowl.

  15. How do people who have never taken a snap in their lives hold so much sway over who gets into the HOF, or not?

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