Super Bowl 2013: Jerry Rice, Tim Brown: Bill Callahan tried to sabotage Super Bowl XXXVII

Al Messerschmidt

The stupidest controversy in ages? Yeah, I'd say it's the stupidest controversy in ages.

Jerry Rice and Tim Brown think that Bill Callahan, the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2002, intentionally lost the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he hated the Raiders and was in love with Jon Gruden. Yes, that is what they're saying -- Tim Brown was the first to say it, and then Jerry Rice backed him up. Stupid? Yes, very stupid.

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According to Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, Callahan changed the gameplan to a more pass-heavy attack on the Friday before the Super Bowl, and that led to not only the desertion of starting center Barrett Robbins, but also the loss of Super Bowl XXXVII. The idea that this is how Bill Callahan would sabotage the Raiders -- or that he would sabotage the Raiders at all -- is, of course, insane. And would it even have mattered?

Let's review a few facts, shall we? The Raiders managed 10 rushing attempts in the first half versus 20 passes. That's decently imbalanced, but not any more so than it had been at any point in the season: the Raiders called 619 passes against just 414 rushes during the regular season, and that was including a lot of running out the clock at the end of blowout victories. The week before, against the Tennessee Titans, the Raiders had thrown the ball 41 times versus just 17 runs. The Oakland Raiders didn't fail to run the ball because Bill Callahan wanted them to lose the game. They failed to run the ball because they never ran the ball.

Besides that, it's not like the Raiders actually ran the ball successfully against the Bucs. Despite coming out with a pass-heavy attack, they still managed just 1.8 yards per carry in the first half and 1.7 yards per carry after all. I'm sure the Bucs wouldn't have minded had you tried to run the ball down their throats with those numbers. And what about the preposterous idea that a professional football coach would get his own team all the way to the Super Bowl only to throw the game because he liked the opposing coach. What kind of insanity is that? Then there's another small fact: Rich Gannon flat out denied this nonsense on his SiriumXM NFL show, per JoeBucsFan.

No, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. You didn't lose because Bill Callahan hated you. You lost because you weren't good enough. You lost the game because your offensive line couldn't stop the Bucs' pass rush. You lost the game because Rich Gannon threw five interception and got sacked five times. You lost the game because Jon Gruden trained the defense to know exactly what was coming. You lost the game because your defense couldn't stop the Bucs' running game, or passing game for that matter. You lost the game because the Tampa 2 was tailor made to stop the West Coast Offense.

You lost the game because the Bucs were the better team. Get over it.

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