The Oakland Raiders have not been the same since losing to Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay team, and Tim Brown suggests there was more to that story than meets the eye.
The Oakland Raiders were humiliated by their former coach, Jon Gruden and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXII. The game was over almost as soon as it started, and since then, there have been stories of the Tampa Bay defense literally calling out the plays before the Raiders ran them.
For years, many blamed then offensive coordinator and newly minted Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman for not sufficiently changing the play book when Gruden left. Others blamed the Raiders Pro Bowl center, Barret Robbins who disappeared just hours before the game.
And now it appears that Tim Brown, one of the greatest Raiders ever, blames someone entirely different.
According to Brown, who appeared in an interview on Sirius XM on Saturday, the Raiders believed they could easily win the game by running the ball down the throats of the Bucs. The Raiders' offensive line was much bigger than the Bucs, and the Raiders boasted a backfield duo of Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatly, not to mention one of the best short yardage backs in the game, Zack Crockett.
"We get our game plan for victory on Monday, and the game plan says we're gonna run the ball," Brown said. "We averaged 340 [pounds] on the offensive line, they averaged 280 [on the defensive line]. We're all happy with that, everybody is excited."
Yet, according to Brown, that game plan was retracted by then head coach Bill Callahan, on the Friday before they took the field. And rather than run the ball in order to win, Callahan decided he was going to "throw the ball 60 times".
"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.
"We all called it sabotage . . . because Callahan and 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."
Brown also stated that the change in game plan had a particularly negative effect on Robbins, who begged the coach not to make the change, noting that he could not possibly run the line and make his calls under the new plan.
"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.'
"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."
While Brown does not directly attribute Robbins going off the deep end to Callahan's decision, the inference is clear.
Now clearly, I failed to mention that many fans at the time also blamed Callahan for the loss. But the blame was based on a feeling that Callahan had blundered the game due to ineptitude as a coach, not, as Brown would insinuate, because he had a hatred for the Raiders. Brown claims he only came to Oakland at the behest of Gruden, but really hated the organization.
This is rather shocking information, and with two weeks of hype leading into the Super Bowl, this surely is not the last we have heard of the story.