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Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan denies accusations that he ‘sabotaged’ Super Bowl vs. Buccaneers

01.23.13 at 6:49 am ET
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Bill Callahan

Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accused then-coach Bill Callahan of sabotaging the Super Bowl against the Buccaneers 10 years ago because of Callahan’s friendship with Bucs coach (and former Raiders boss) Jon Gruden.

The players claim Callahan changed the team’s game plan from a run-heavy strategy to a pass-oriented approach two days before the game, knowing it would give the players too little time to adjust. Tampa Bay went on to a 48-21 victory.

“We all called it sabotage, because Callahan and Gruden was good friends, and Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, hated the Raiders, and only came because Gruden made him come,” Brown said Monday in an interview on Sirius XM Radio.

Some players, including quarterback Rich Gannon and linebacker Bill Romanowski, defended Callahan, but Rice agreed with Brown’s assessment.

“I was very surprised that he waited till the last second, and I think a lot of the players, they were surprised also, so in a way, maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders he decided, ‘Hey, look, maybe we should sabotage just a little but and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.’ ” Rice told ESPN.

Callahan, now the Cowboys offensive line coach, responded with a statement on Tuesday.

“While I fully understand a competitive professional football player’s disappointment when a game’s outcome doesn’t go his team’s way, 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 24 hours,” he said. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.”

Read More: Bill Callahan, Jerry Rice, Rumor Mill, Tim Brown