MOBILE, Ala. -- Zack Crockett's reaction to Tim Brown's accusation that Bill Callahan "sabotaged" the Raiders' Super Bowl appearance almost 10 years ago?
"It's not a reaction," Crockett said Tuesday afternoon. "It's just, impossible. Callahan's a smart guy, a good coach.
"C'mon. C'mon, we know better than that."
No, Crockett, a fullback on that Raiders team, was not buying it, even as Brown was reiterating his claim all day on every medium, that Callahan switched the gameplan on the Friday before Super Bowl XXXVII to go away from the Raiders' decided advantage at running the ball against Tampa Bay to throwing the ball up to 60 times against the Buccaneers' dominant pass defense.
Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon suffered through a five-interception, five-sack, 48.9 QB rating-game and the Buccaneers, led by Jon Gruden, won in a rout, 48-21.
Marc Trestman, who was the Raiders offensive coordinator at the time, is Chicago's newly-hired head coach. Surely, he would know if Callahan did indeed flip the script on the offense a mere 48 hours before the Super Bowl and, if he did, why he would do such a thing, right?
Trestman, though, declined to comment on the matter, citing the Bears' current media blackout policy here at the Senior Bowl.
A former Raiders employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, discounted Brown's theory and said if there was some Friday tweaking to the gameplan, the late Al Davis might have had something to do with it. But for Callahan to purposely sabotage the Super Bowl? Said former employee laughed.
In fact, Crockett said the gameplan was changed from a run-heavy scheme to a pass-first mentality. But not on Friday.
"You had a gameplan that had to be altered," Crockett said. "You had an All-Pro center in Barrett Robbins going through what he went threw. He disappeared.
"And when you have to take off a guy like Barrett Robbins, who was the centerpiece, it throws everything off…and then you put a guy in who hasn't played all year and all he was was a longsnapper on punting and field goals, of course you've got to change the gameplan. We always had the mindset we were gong to run, but coach had to change. But in the end, it was shocking to him as well."
Crockett, who is now a scout for the Raiders, referenced the Cincinnati Bengals, who dealt with running back Stanley Wilson going on a cocaine binge the night before they lost to the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, and the Atlanta Falcons, who endured safety Eugene Robinson's arrest for solicitation before falling to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.
"Everybody knows when there's something that alters the chemistry, it throws it off, it throws off the chemistry," Crockett said. "At that time, we were powerful. That's where we're trying to get back to now."