Bears coach Marc Trestman was the Oakland offensive coordinator when the Raiders put together one of the leagues most effective offenses through the regular season. Oakland led the NFL in yardage and was second in scoring.
The Raiders then struggled in their 48-21 blowout loss to the Buccaneers with MVP quarterback Rich Gannon throwing five interceptions after just 10 during the regular season.
That game and the Oakland plan on offense is now the center of a boiling dispute between several Raiders players, including wide receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, and former coach Bill Callahan.
Brown and Rice have claimed that the offensive game plan was changed shortly before the game. Trestman refused to comment on the situation when approached by the Tribunes Dan Pompei during Senior Bowl preparations in Mobile, Ala., this week.
Brown said in a Sirius-XM NFL radio that Callahan hated the Raiders and effectively sabotaged his team by, two days before kickoff, changing the game plan from a run orientation to one of passing. Rice supported Browns sentiments in an ESPN interview, saying that maybe because he didnt like the Raiders, he decided, maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.
Callahan vehemently denied the allegations in a statement, saying, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Browns allegations and Jerry Rices support of those allegations. I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations which he called flat out wrong.
The entire episode is puzzling. The Raiders were the NFLs best passing offense, yet Brown and Rice said the initial plan was to run, at which the Raiders were mediocre (18th, 110 yards per game). Then the alleged change was made to a pass.
Tampa Bay, which had shut out the Bears and quarterback Henry Burris in Champaign in Game 16, ranked No. 1 in scoring and pass defense and tied for fifth against the run.
The Raiders called nine running plays and 51 pass plays in the Super Bowl, with Gannon sacked five times.