Jerry Rice agrees with Tim Brown, Eric Mangini does not
Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 22, 2013
It has been an interesting day for Cowboys offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
In the same day, Jerry Jones indicated that Callahan likely will take over offensive playcalling duties for the Cowboys, and former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown repeated that he believes Callahan may have "sabotaged" the 2003 Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On ESPN, there were differing credible opinions. Former Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice, who was on that team, agreed with Brown, while former Cleveland Browns head coach and former colleague of Callahan, Eric Mangini, didn't.
"Maybe because he didn't like the Raiders, he decided maybe we should sabotage this a little bit an let Jon Gruden go out and win this one. ... I know exactly what I'm saying," Rice said. This is a discussion that Tim and I had. Being veterans, we know that you don't wait until the last second to change the game plan.
"It has a lot to do with the center, too. (Barrett Robbins) was like, 'You can't do this to us right now.' Maybe that was the reason why he ended up going over the Mexico and was a no-show during the Super Bowl."
Given that Robbins was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has continued to have problems, that's a very dangerous statement from Rice.
"I just felt it was very unusual," Rice said of the game plan change. "Tim Brown, he was like, the guy in Oakland. If he was suspicious of something like that, I have to believe Tim Brown. This guy was everything with the Oakland Raiders and had been there for a long time.
"This is a discussion we had after, and I just thought it was very unusual. You want to go into that situation knowing exactly what you want to do, how you want to approach that defense, and w changed everything that Friday."
The Raiders quarterback for the game, Rich Gannon told The SiriusXM Blitz that he didn't believe Callahan would ever try to lose a game.
Mangini hired Callahan as assistant head coach of the Jets in 2008. Mangini couldn't imagine a situation where a coach would want to lose the Super Bowl.
"There is no possible way that Bill Callahan would ever sabotage the Super Bowl or any other game as a head coach, as an assistant coach, as anybody affiliated with a team," Mangini said. "That's not who he is. When I first saw this (story), I thought this is ridiculous, and the only thing that would be more ridiculous is if someone actually believed it. You work too hard to get that opportunity. I know Bill Callahan extremenly well. I know what kind of person he is, I know the coach that he is.
"He would never do that. If anything, he would work as hard as possible to make sure that he beat his friend. That rivalry, that would fire him up even more. It's unbelievable that someone would say that in this situation."
More former players will likely come out with their opinions in the coming days, and maybe Callahan will have a comment on the matter.
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com