Former Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan released a statement on Tuesday night addressing allegations made by former players that he intentionally threw Super Bowl XXVII against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As expected, he denied that there was any truth behind it and expressed how offended he is by what Tim Brown and Jerry Rice said.
“I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations,” Callahan said in a statement released to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegation. To suggest otherwise, especially at this time when it involves the Super Bowl, is ludicrous and defamatory.
“Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans, is flat out wrong. I think it would be in the best interests of all including the game America loves that these allegations be retracted immediately.”
Brown didn’t exactly retract his allegation, but he certainly backpedaled during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday morning. In Brown’s original accusation, he specifically said that the Raiders players called it “sabotage” because of Callahan’s relationship with then-Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. Now, the nine-time Pro Bowler is claiming that is not what he meant.
“I’ve never said [Callahan] sabotaged the game,” Brown told Patrick. “That’s something that can never be proven. We can never go into the mind of Bill Callahan. …. I should have said we could have called it sabotage. It was a question, not a statement. You cannot prove it.”
A number of players came out in support of Callahan after Brown made his accusation and Rice agreed with him. Brown’s theory is incredibly hard to believe, and he’s most likely changing his tune now that he realizes very few people are willing to back him up. Judging by the 48-21 beating the Bucs threw on the Raiders, it’s safe to say Callahan did a poor job of coaching and preparing his team. To accuse a coach of losing the biggest game of the year intentionally just because his buddy is standing on the other sideline seems extremely far-fetched.