Former Nebraska head football coach Bill Callahan denied allegations made by two of his former players that he “sabotaged” the Oakland Raiders when he led the team during their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay 10 years ago, saying that he tried to win the game and that suggestions to the contrary were “ludicrous and defamatory.”
Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown said in a recent interview he believes Callahan ruined his own team’s chances in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his close friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan two days before Oakland’s 48-21 loss. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice backed up Brown’s claim which is quoted.
“We all called it sabotage . . . because Callahan and Gruden were good friends. 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.”
“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,” Callahan said Tuesday in a statement. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.”
Callahan also wants the allegations to be taken back.
“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,” he said. “I think it would be in the best interests of all, including the game America loves, that these allegations be retracted immediately.”