It all started with the out-of-nowhere comments from Tim Brown, the former Raiders wide receiver who said this week that coach Bill Callahan sabotaged Super Bowl XXXVII when he swapped the run-heavy game plan for an all-out aerial assault. The results: the Buccaneers and Jon Gruden, who was Oakland's coach the season before, rolled to a 48-21 win.
Rich Gannon and Bill Romanowski were integral members of that Raiders team and on Tuesday both disputed Brown's claims.
So that's that, right?
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Not quite. Jerry Rice also has some thoughts on the matter. Specifically: He agrees with Brown. After 16 seasons in San Francisco, Rice was in his second year with Oakland, and he remains as convinced as ever that Callahan had it out for him.
“For some reason -- and I don't know why -- Bill Callahan did not like me,” Rice said Tuesday on ESPN (via PFT). “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.'”
Think about that for a second: Rice and Brown think that Callahan hated his job so much that he was willing to just concede the Super Bowl to Gruden, the guy responsible for bringing him to Oakland. And the best way to do that: change the game plan at the last minute.
As PFT's Michael David Smith points out, Rice and Brown's recollections of events seem to be a bit hazy. Brown said that Callahan's revised game plan was to "throw the ball 60 times."
By the time it was over, the Raiders had attempted 44 passes, despite trailing for most of the game (20-3 at the half, 34-9 to start the fourth quarter). Two weeks before in the AFC Championship Game, the Raiders attempted 41 passes. In fact, Gannon attempted at least 40 passes seven times during the regular season -- including 64 in a Week 2 blowout of the Steelers.
So this wasn't out of the ordinary.
What's still yet to be explained, however, is why Brown decided to bring this up a decade later.
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