As we’ve seen in the last month in the wake of certain traumatic national events, it’s not too hard to get a conspiracy theory going. But these theories are generally easy to laugh off because they are started by anonymous idiots whose parents should have stuck to masturbation.
But this week we’ve got a conspiracy theory started by two of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game, Tim Brown and Jerry Rice.
Brown asserted over the weekend that Raiders coach Bill Callahan sabotaged Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII by changing their game plan two days before the game so Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers would win the title.
“He hated the Raiders so much that he would sabotage the Super Bowl so his friend can win the Super Bowl,” Brown told Sirius XM NFL Radio.
OK, some guy who has been hit in the head too many times comes up with a crackpot theory. No biggie.
Until he’s backed up by the best player in the history of his position.
Rice went on ESPN and backed Brown’s claim, saying “In a way, maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders, he decided, ‘Maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.’”
Rice took the speculation even further, suggesting that Callahan’s last-minute switch to the game plan is the reason center Barrett Robbins went batshit crazy and ended up AWOL in Mexico.
“With Barrett, he was frustrated, like, ‘You cannot do this to us at the last second.’ Maybe that’s why he decided to not show up,’” Rice said.
Though Brown and Rice surely think they are throwing Callahan under the bus, they’re actually giving him far too much credit. As anyone who watched his tenure at Nebraska can attest, the only thing sabotaging Callahan is his own brain.
Even stranger, Brown and Rice are denigrating their own talents by their accusation that Callahan unexpectedly changed the Raiders game plan from a run-first to a pass-first attack. They are actually saying, “Yes, the thing that would have won us the game is handing the ball off to Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley rather than using NFL MVP Rich Gannon to throw the ball to us, a pair of Hall of Fame wide receivers.”
The fact is ultra-competitive people cannot handle being dominated on the field of play. By 2002 Brown and Rice were at the tail end of their careers and unfamiliar with the concept of not being the best on the field. So rather than accepting the fact their got their asses kicked, they’ve created a delusion that the game must have been sabotaged by their head coach.
Delusions are fine if that’s what gets you to sleep at night. But once you allow them into the public domain you either look like a fool, an asshole or both.