No, not that one, although there is a loose connection. One of the names that came up from time to time in the media’s coverage of Manti Te’o this season was that of Tim Brown. As Te’o became an increasingly serious (or unserious, depending on what you believe right now) Heisman contender, Brown’s name got kicked around because Brown was the last Notre Dame player to win the Heisman trophy, which he did during the 1987 season.
Te’o didn’t win though, and amidst the post-national championship game kerfuffle that has surrounded Te’o and Notre Dame, and in the leadup to Super Bowl XLVII, Brown thought it was a good time to reassert himself in the national sports discussion.
Now, he’s front-and-center, with a thinly veiled accusation that the Oakland Raiders threw Super Bowl XXXVII. Brown said that the Raiders’ coach, Bill Callahan, “sabotage[d]” his team by changing their offensive scheme two days before the game. Why? Callahan “had a big problem with the Raiders, . . . hated the Raiders.” That’s nothing new. Why else? Callahan wanted his “good friend”– opposing coach John Gruden– a Super Bowl win.
UPDATE: This isn’t just a Notre Dame thing. Brown’s teammate on that Raiders team, Jerry Rice, also spoke out in support of Brown’s assertion, and, if anything, he was less equivocal than Brown.
For what it’s worth, the media really isn’t liking this whole thing. The technical concept that Brown and Rice are advancing is that the Raiders suddenly switched from a run-heavy offense to one that would be dominated by the passing game. ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith makes two points in response: 1) the Raiders threw the ball just three more times than they did in the AFC championship game, and with forty-four passing attempts in the Super Bowl, they were far below the sixty figure Brown and Rice are referencing, and 2) “the Raiders had been a passing team all season: They led the NFL in passing yards that season while ranking 18th in the league in rushing yards and 23rd in the league in rushing attempts. In other words, Callahan called a lot of passes in the Super Bowl because it was calling a lot of passes that had led them to the Super Bowl in the first place.”
UPDATE: Brown has doubled down [VIDEO] on his assertion that Callahan purposefully lost Superbowl XXXVII. It wasn’t a case of bad coaching on Callahan’s part, Brown said, but a case of intentional sabotage.
UPDATE: Callahan finally responded, and he “categorically and unequivocally den[ied] the sum and substance of their allegations,” adding that Brown’s and Rice’s assertions were “ludicrous and defamatory.” Callahan demanded an immediate retraction of the statements.