Tim Brown with the Oakland Raiders in 2002. (Los Angeles Times )
Tim Brown only played in one Super Bowl during his 17-year career. And that was a game you'd think he'd want to forget, when his Oakland Raiders were routed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXXVII.
But 10 years later, not only is the nine-time Pro Bowl receiver still thinking about that game, he's making comments that are sure to have everyone else talking about it all over again.
In comments made Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Brown suggested that then-coach Bill Callahan may have been trying "sabotage" the Super Bowl when he changed the game plan on the Friday before the game.
Callahan was in his first year as head coach of the Raiders after four years as an assistant of Jon Gruden, who had taken over the same position with the Buccaneers that season. Brown said that the relationship between the two coaches raises a red flag when considering the odd timing of the switch from a run-heavy game plan to one emphasizing the passing game.
"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. 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."
Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon completed 24 of 44 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. Brown had one reception for nine yards. Meanwhile, the Raiders attempted just 11 running plays.
Callahan was fired after the team went 4-12 the following year.
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