Jerry Rice is joining other Oakland Raiders who contend that coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the team back in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The first accusation came from Tim Brown, who said this week that Callahan changed the team’s gameplan on Friday. Callahan had prepared for run-heavy attack, taking advantage of the Raiders stout offensive line against the smaller defensive line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But Callahan suddenly changed, against the objections of his players, to a plan that called for 60 passes.
Brown contended that Callahan had a deep-seeded dislike of the Raiders organization and may have wanted to throw the game to Jon Gruden, who he had worked under the previous year.
Speaking to ESPN’s NFL Live, Rice agreed.
“In a way, maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders, he decided to, ‘Hey look, maybe we should sabotage a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one,’ ” Jerry Rice said.
Rice said Callahan’s gameplan did more than send the Raiders to a blowout loss to the Buccaneers. The Hall of Fame receiver thinks it also contributed to a breakdown in the already unstable center Barret Robbins, who left the team the day before the Super Bowl and disappeared to Mexico.
Some think there are ulterior motives to Rice’s accusations. NFL.com points out that Rice has stated in the past that Callahan did not like him when he first came to Oakland, making Rice’s Super Bowl accusations come off like he had “a score to settle.”
Others have said that Jerry Rice seems off in his assessment. Why would a coach remain with a team he hated so much, they ask, and what would he have to gain in losing the most important game on purpose?