Tuck: Bill Callahan Thrown Under The Bus

Cue the laugh track: The Dallas Cowboys (of course) hired Bill Callahan to be their offensive coordinator.  Perfect timing Dallas.

The former Raiders coach was accused by former Raiders WR Tim Brown a couple days ago of intentionally throwing Super Bowl XXXVII against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former coach Jon Gruden.

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.

“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.”

As out of the blue as that was, Rice, working for ESPN now as an analyst, came out and backed his running mate up yesterday.

“For some reason — and I don’t know why — Bill Callahan did not like me,” Rice said on ESPN, via ProFootballTalk. “In a way, maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders, he decided, ‘Maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.'”

Now, not everyone is buying in.  QB Rich Gannon, LB Bill Romanowski, and OL Lincoln Kennedy have all dismissed such charges.

Coach Gruden on the idea of being helped win?   Asked if he wanted to refute the allegation, Gruden texted USA TODAY Sports’ Jon Saraceno with the reply, “Give me a break. No thanks.”

Coach Callahan has responded as well.

“I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last twenty four hours,” Callahan said. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.”

Do I think he sabotaged their chances?  No.  Do I think the Raiders were poorly prepared considering the circumstances of who they were playing?  Yes.

Did the Raiders pass a lot more than normal?  No.  In the first half, it was 20-10 pass-run ratio.  They averaged throwing 65.9% of the time in the first half of games all year that season.  They averaged 1.8 yards a rush against Tampa that day.  Should they have run more like Brown was saying they intended?  Doesn’t look like it was working to me.  And by the way, they trailed 20-3 at half, which of course led to more throwing in the second half.

FYI, you may remember a game at Pittsburgh in week 2 that season.  Oakland QB Rich Gannon threw it 64 times in what was a 30-17 victory.

If anything, if Oakland considered going run heavy and changed their mind, it probably was because they would be getting away from what got them to the Super Bowl in the first place, a pass heavy attack spear-headed by MVP Rich Gannon.

This story just sounds like a bitter player, maybe a couple, that were unhappy, and still are, that they were embarrassed on football’s biggest stage.  It was a bad match-up and the Bucs were prepared for everything Oakland had to throw at them.

Bill Callahan didn’t throw the Super Bowl.  He didn’t start throwing games until he coached 4 years at Nebraska.  I’m kidding.