Raiders' Ex-Coach: I Didn't Throw Super Bowl
Callahan 'hated the Raiders,' Tim Brown claims
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2013 12:03 AM CST
Then-Oakland Raiders head coach Bill Callahan cheers as his team scores against the Pittsburgh Steelers in this September 2002 photo.   (AP Photo/ Gary Tramontina, File)

(Newser) – Former Oakland coach Bill Callahan has angrily rejected accusations that he sabotaged the team before its Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay in 2003. Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice recently claimed that Callahan threw the game by changing the game plan at the last minute, the AP reports. Brown told an interviewer earlier this week that the "sabotage" was because of Callahan's friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, and because Callahan "hated the Raiders."

Other Raiders came to the former coach's defense after the comments and Callahan issued a statement that hinted at legal action, saying he was "shocked, saddened, and outraged" by the "ludicrous and defamatory" allegations, NBC reports. "Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches, and fans is flat out wrong," he said. "I think it would be in the best interests of all, including the game America loves, that these allegations be retracted immediately."

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Jan 23, 2013 2:43 PM CST
The awkward moment where you have to say, "No I didn't do it on purpose; I'm just THAT bad at my job..."
Jan 23, 2013 1:53 PM CST
Hard to believe that Callahan would pass up the opportunity to join the ranks of Super-Bowl-winning coaches out of spite, or as a favor to a friend. But what is undeniable is that he was facing a Tampa Bay defense that was strong against the pass and weak against the run. The Bucs had only lost 3 games all season, and in those 3 games, their opponent had run the ball an average of 33 times. In Oakland's previous meeting with Tampa Bay, the Raiders had won 45-0, decimating virtually the same Buc defense, by running the ball 37 times for almost 300 yards. On running plays, Oakland's massive offensive line (avg. size 380 lbs.) could easily overpowered the very light Buc defensive line. So naturally (and this part is agreed upon by all concerned), the Raiders' early-week game plan was run-heavy. What happened in the last 36 hours, and whether it caused (or was caused by) the desertion of All-Pro center Barrett Robbins is where the parties differ. But there's no denying that Callahan changed his strategy at the last minute. Because, unbelievably, in the game itself, the ball was handed to a running back a grand total of 9 times. There were certainly other mistakes made in the game (insufficiently disguising the playcalls that were familiar to Buc coach Gruden, who had coached the Raiders the year before), but the last-minute turnabout in basic approach seems so bizarre, so strategically suicidal, that it's understandable for people to question the coach's motives. Still, as the saying goes: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."
Jan 23, 2013 7:40 AM CST
Sounds like any hatred was reciprocal