Jerry Rice, the NFL Hall of Famer who played for the Oakland Raiders after a storied career with the San Francisco 49ers, defended former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown's comments that head coach Bill Callahan may have "sabotaged" the 2003 Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Appearing on ESPN's "NFL Live," Rice said:
“Maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders, he decided, ‘Maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.'"
Rice said that Callahan did change the game plan less than two days before the Super Bowl and he was "very surprised by that."
Rice, who was Brown's teammate on the team, also agreed with Brown that Callahan's last-minute changes caused embattled Raiders center Barret Robbins to go AWOL before the game. Rice said the center is like the quarterback on the field, and the players were never given an opportunity to give their opinions about the new game plan after they had prepared to run the ball against Tampa Bay.
Saying he found the sudden change in the game plan "very unusual," Rice said he has to believe what Brown was saying and noted two wide receivers spoke about the allegations after the the Super Bowl. Brown said Raider players immediately suspected Callahan may have sabotaged the game after the game was over. Other Raiders supported Brown's recounting of events and assertions while others--like former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon--have disputed Brown's accusations.
Tampa Bay won the game 48-21.