Tim Brown, who spent so much time and had so much success in Oakland that he earned himself the moniker of ‘Mr. Raider’, has also earned himself far more credit with the media and fans than his former coach, Bill Callahan.
That’s why when Brown claimed on Tuesday that Callahan ‘sabotaged’ the team’s chances at winning Super Bowl XXXVII, folks around the league and the nation listened.
Brown said that Callahan unnecessarily changed the game plan only two days prior to Oakland’s embarrassing 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 years ago.
“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, first reported by 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 entire team — from quarterback Rich Gannon, to his offensive line led by center Barret Robbins and on to Brown — was preparing for a rush-heavy attack against the powerful Bucs defensive front. Further, the Raiders’ offensive players were excited about what they were putting together.
However, while the players were getting everything ready for the game of their lives, Callahan shocked everyone in the locker room. On the Friday prior to Sunday’s big game, Callahan turned the team’s plan of action on its head. What was supposed to have been a run-heavy plan was changed into an almost entirely pass-happy attack. Such a plan played directly to the strength of the Buccaneers, and essentially gave Oakland zero chance of victory before ever stepping onto the football field in San Diego.
“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 became the first wide receiver to ever win the Heisman Trophy as a Notre Dame superstar. Mr. Raider was a nine-time Pro-Bowler en route to being named to the 1990′s All-Decade team. He either owns or shares eight NFL receiving records, and no one has played more games for the Raiders organization than Brown.
However, he has no Super Bowl ring — and neither does Robbins, who went on a massive drinking binge in Tijuana and missed the Super Bowl altogether.
But Brown, again, does not blame the team’s center, but rather Callahan.
“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 … 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.”
This year’s San Francisco-Baltimore Super Bowl falls on the tenth anniversary of the last Raiders team to win games at an elite level. Such a revelation on the part of one of the greatest to ever strap on the Black and Silver will not benefit this embattled organization in any way.
With two brothers coaching against one another this year, one assumes that at the very least, sibling rivalry won’t allow such a disastrous (and apparently scandalized) game to take place in 2013.