Former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown said in a recent radio interview that much of the blame for the Raiders’ 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, following the 2002 season, should go to coach Bill Callahan, suggesting some of Callahan’s decisions in the days leading up to the game seemed like sabotoge.
“We get our game plan for victory on Monday, and the game plan says we’re gonna run the ball,” Brown said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, according to ProFootballTalk.com, which received a copy of the audio. “We averaged 340 [pounds] on the offensive line, they averaged 280 [on the defensive line]. We’re all happy with that, everybody is excited. [We] tell Charlie Garner, ‘Look, you’re not gonna get too many carries, but at the end of the day we’re gonna get a victory. Tyrone Wheatley, Zack Crockett, let’s get ready to blow this thing up.’”
The Raiders only attempted 11 running plays in the game compared to 44 pass attempts.
“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.”
After hearing of the comments, Rich Gannon, the quarterback of that Raiders team, defended Callahan, ESPN reported.
“In terms of Bill Callahan, let me just say this: He was a good football coach, he was a good man,” Gannon said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We all wanted to win.”
Another player on that Raiders team, linebacker Bill Romanowski, was also quick to deflect Brown’s comments.
“What is he trying to do? He absolutely couldn’t be further from the truth,” Romanowski said to WPEN (97.5 FM) in Philadelphia on Tuesday. “So you’re saying that a man has a chance to cement himself in history with winning a Super Bowl and he wants to hand it over to his buddy? Give me a break, OK?”