Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon has gone on record defending his former head coach Bill Callahan, who’s come under fire from Tim Brown regarding how Super Bowl XXXVII was coached. Yesterday Brown went on SiriusXM Radio to claim that Callahan lost the Super Bowl on purpose, because he hated the Raiders and was good friends with then-Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
“We all called it sabotage, Brown said. “Callahan and [Tampa Bay coach Jon] 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.”
Gannon appeared on SiriusXM Tuesday morning to defend his former coach, saying the Raiders didn’t purposefully lose the Super Bowl, they just got beat by the better team.
“In terms of Bill Callahan, let me just say this: He was a good football coach, he was a good man,” Gannon said. “We all wanted to win.”
Brown’s claim was that the Raiders switched their gameplan 36 hours before kickoff and that the whole team went into the game knowing they didn’t stand a chance. This may have had more to do with the fact the Buccaneers were boasting one of the best defenses in NFL history, but that’s besides the point.
Gannon refuted that claim but did note Callahan made a critical error in his coaching during the game. Jon Gruden was in his first year as the Buccaneers head coach and had spent the previous four years with the Raiders. You’d think that the Raiders would change their on-field playcalling, but Gannon said that didn’t happen.
“So much of our verbiage and terminology was a carryover from what Jon Gruden had installed in terms of our run checks, and so we were calling certain plays and guys like Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks were calling out the runs,” Gannon said. “So it kind of took us out of our no-huddle plan at the line of scrimmage.”
Not changing the language of your audibles on the field is a completely justifiable reason to be mad at Callahan, even Gannon expressed that. But to say that he threw the Super Bowl to spite the Raiders just lacks intelligence and is the true sign of a sore loser still angry 10 years after the fact.