So it turns out Bill Callahan still strikes a chord with Nebraska fans.
There was a lot of Twitter chatter yesterday over Tim Brown’s accusation that Callahan sabotaged the Raiders’ chances in Super Bowl XXXVII by changing the game plan two days before the game.
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated had, perhaps, the best response of all to this:
Callahan had a dominant run game and tried to pass too much? That isn’t him throwing the Super Bowl. That’s his Nebraska tenure.
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) January 23, 2013
And now Callahan himself has responded:
“There are many people who are disappointed by the outcome of Super Bowl XXXVII, but none more than me,” Callahan said in a statement. “While I fully understand a competitive professional football player’s disappointment when a game’s outcome doesn’t go his team’s way, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last twenty four hours.
“To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations. Like every game I ever coached on the professional or collegiate level, I endeavor to the best of my professional ability to position my team to win,” Callahan continued. “To suggest otherwise, especially at this time when it involves the Super Bowl, is ludicrous and defamatory. I have always honored the spirit of competition that drives us to sport as children and, for the lucky few, sustains us in adulthood.
“Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans, is flat out wrong. I think it would be in the best interests of all including the game America loves that these allegations be retracted immediately. I want to extend my personal and my family’s deep appreciation to the coaches, players and fans who have come forward and thoughtfully spoken out against these ill-conceived allegations.”
All of the above must be read in the Callahan voice, of course.
SUPER BOWL STREAK >>> Speaking of the big (NFL) game, Nebraska has a nice little Super Bowl streak going according to research from the University of Florida. With Seward, Neb. native, and Nebraska alum, Sam Koch punting for the Ravens, there has now been a Husker in 20 consecutive Super Bowls. The streak started with Nate Turner and the Buffalo Bills in 1993.
Another ex-Husker, Tom Rathman, is also the running backs coach for San Francisco.
STATE TROOPER >>> Now this is why college football is great. These types of stories.
Western Illinois kicker Patrick Smith was speeding (literally) through Nebraska on his way to his official visit in Lincoln last week when he was pulled over by a state trooper.
“He took my insurance card and went back to his car,” said Smith, a kicker and punter who recently completed his junior season at WIU as one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award. “He then waved me back to his car. We spent about 15 minutes talking about the Huskers.”
Smith then walked away with a written warning and an idea of what the rest of the visit would be like.
“It made an impression,” Smith said.
Smith will join the Huskers in the fall and college football lore is all the better for it. Here’s hoping Smith has some meaningful kicks in his career to cement the legend.
BRET BIELEMA V. THE STATE OF WISCONSIN >>> As if Bret Bielema’s departure from Wisconsin wasn’t fraught with enough angst, the coach has taken to responding to critics via Twitter. The Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal has a blow-by-blow of the offending tweets if you’re interested, while Tom Lea of ESPN Wisconsin offered some commentary:
But in a world where accountability reigns supreme, I thought it would only be right to share what Bielema said back in fall camp in regard to Twitter and Facebook.
“I tell the kids (to) do what’s right,” Bielema, during UW’s media day press conference back in August, said. “Don’t do anything that will cause or draw attention to yourself other than the reason you want to normally do it. Rule of thumb is don’t put anything on Facebook or tweet anything that you don’t want your mother to read.”
Apparently that mindset doesn’t entirely apply to Bielema, who has continually responded to fans on Twitter since he left Madison for Fayetteville in early December. He’s personally insulted people, told them their tweets are stupid and for one tweeter to ‘enjoy life alone.’
What doesn’t add up is the fact he’s going against everything he preached to his players during his time at Wisconsin.
You could make a decent argument that the past three head coaches at Arkansas — Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith — were crazy. Is Bielema in that group now too?
Maybe the job is cursed, but it sure is fun to watch.