Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver and return specialist Tim Brown had strong remarks Saturday on SiriusXM Radio, placing the blame of the Raiders 48-21 loss in Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on then head coach Bill Callahan.
“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 via ProFootballTalk.com. “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.”
The game was ten years ago and many placed the blame on Oakland's All-Pro center Barret Robbins, who disappeared before the game, returned but was inactive. Another factor was that the Tampa Bay defense knew what plays the Raiders would run because new Chicago Bears head coach and then Raiders offensive coordinator Marc Trestman had such a similar playbook to Jon Gruden, who was the coach of the Buccaneers and the Raiders the season before.
“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 would not go as far as to say Robbins leaving the team was a result of Callahan changing the game plan.
“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.”
That season Tampa Bay had the best passing defense in the league only allowing 155.6 yards per game and the number one overall defense in yards per game at 252.8 per game. The Raiders boasted the best passing offense in the league averaging 279.7 yards per game and the best yards per game average in the league at 389.8. Tampa Bay had the 5th best rushing defense in the league and the Raiders had the 18th best rushing offense in the league that year.
“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.”
Brown is a finalist for the Hall of Fame this year and had a standout career for the Raiders, where he amassed 1,070 catches in his 16 years with the team. Callahan went on to coach college football at Nebraska for four seasons before returning to the NFL with the New York Jets as the offensive line coach in 2008. He is currently the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
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