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Tim Brown of the Raiders drops a pass in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Buccaneers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. / Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports

The impending tenth anniversary of Super Bowl XXXVII between the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers had former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown reminiscing on a radio show Saturday. But they weren't exactly good memories.

Brown suggested on Sirius XM NFL Radio that then-Raiders coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the game against his former boss Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, changing the offensive game plan two days before kickoff. The Buccaneers ended up winning 48-21 in the most lopsided Super Bowl of the past 11 years.

Via Pro Football Talk:

"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."

No, you definitely can't prove it. Also, it makes no sense. What good would it have done Callahan to damage his own coaching career in order to help Gruden? Had Gruden given him a kidney? Saved him from some sort of tragic accident? Had someone murdered on his behalf? The idea that an NFL coach would throw away his chance to add "Super Bowl-winning coach" as a lifelong prefix to his name due to some grudge towards Raiders ownership or current players seems ludicrous. Bringing it up a decade after the fact doesn't exactly lend credibility to the story, either.

Asked if he wanted to refute the allegation, Gruden texted USA TODAY Sports' Jon Saraceno with the reply, "Give me a break. No thanks."

Brown's main evidence is that Callahan switched the Raiders' game plan against the Bucs from a run-first offense to a passing one, despite the fact his team "averaged 340 pounds on the offensive line." Brown suggested Callahan's last-minute adjustments might have been the trigger that sent center Barret Robbins AWOL in Mexico on a drinking binge and bipolar episode.

"Now, should Barret have manned up and tried to do it? Absolutely. But everybody knew Barret was unstable anyway. So to put him in that situation - not that he was putting him in that situation - but for that decision to be made without consulting the players the Friday before the Super Bowl? I played 27 years of football. The coaches never changed the game plan the Friday before the game. I'm not trying to point fingers at anybody here, all I'm saying is those are the facts of what happened. So people look at Barret and they say all these things, but every player in that locker room will tell you, 'You'd better talk to Bill Callahan.' Because if not for Coach Callahan, I don't think we're in that situation."

Former Raiders fullback Jon Ritchie didn't exactly deny Brown's claims in an ESPN report, but former Raiders starting quarterback Rich Gannon did on his Sirius NFL show Tuesday.

Asked about the Super Bowl game plan, Gannon said "I never got a memo that came across my desk or my locker that said, 'We're going to do something different.' "

Saying that Callahan might have intentionally sabotaged a Super Bowl seems a little extreme. Maybe he just wasn't a very good coach. He was fired after going 4-12 in a 2003 season riddled with infighting and was hired by Nebraska the following season, a four-year tenure most Huskers fans view as an utter failure.

Brown isn't the only Hall of Fame player to lash out this season about Super Bowl teams of old. Former Bears defensive end Richard Dent told a Chicago radio show this summer that coach Mike Ditka's inability to manage the team's quarterback position cost the Bears multiple Super Bowl wins.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Tim Brown says Raiders coach sabotaged Super Bowl

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