Never-Before-Released 2011 Interview with Former Oakland Raiders Center Barret Robbins from Prison Featured in Fifth Installment of Six-Part Initiative
Robbins Reveals Why He Disappeared and Missed Playing in Raiders Loss in Super Bowl XXXVII Following 2002 Season
NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California’s Podcast Production Features Interviews with Tim Brown, Rod Woodson and Amy Trask; Introduction from Mike Tirico
“Sports Uncovered: The Lost Barret Robbins Interview,” a Half-Hour Version of Robbins’ 2011 Sit-Down Interview, to Air on NBC Sports Bay Area Tonight at 10 P.M. PT
STAMFORD, Conn. – July 9, 2020 – NBC Sports Regional Networks’ six-episode podcast anthology series, “Sports Uncovered,” which re-examines some of the most memorable and compelling storylines and events in sports history, continues today with the debut of The Mysterious Disappearance that Changed a Super Bowl, the story of former Oakland Raiders All-Pro offensive lineman Barret Robbins’ Super Bowl XXXVII disappearance. The episode is available for download here.
Produced by NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, the fifth installment of “Sports Uncovered” features a never-before-heard 2011 Robbins interview previously believed to be lost but recently found in the network’s San Francisco offices, as well as 2011 interviews from Raiders teammates Tim Brown, Lincoln Kennedy, Bill Romanowski, Barry Sims and the late Mo Collins. Robbins – in a South Florida prison at the time of the interview – details the mental-health and addiction issues that caused him to leave the Raiders for Mexico just two days before Super Bowl XXXVII. That ultimately led to his benching for the game and eventually the end of a promising NFL career, followed by a post-football life filled by run-ins with the law.
Other stories uncovered in the podcast:
- How a former Raiders teammate found Robbins in a San Diego bar and brought him back to the team hotel, one day after the center had gone missing.
- Why some ex-Raiders believe one coaching decision put too much pressure on Robbins and also sabotaged the team’s chances to win the Super Bowl against its former coach, Jon Gruden.
- Why the Raiders’ locker room might not have been the best place for Robbins, and why the team decided to bring him back for the 2003 season, despite his Super Bowl disappearance.
- Deeper details about Robbins’ troubled post-NFL days, including his first-person account of being shot by Miami Beach police in 2005, and a recently uncovered 2019 arrest that could hint at his current whereabouts and well-being.
Those stories and more are told by numerous notable guests, including Robbins’ former Raiders teammates, team executives and media members in recent interviews. The list of contributors also includes ex-Raiders players Rod Woodson, Calvin Branch and Anthony Dorsett; former Raiders executives Amy Trask and Bruce Allen; Emmy-winning NFL reporter Andrea Kremer; former Raiders radio play-by-play announcer Greg Papa, who conducted that 2011 interview with Robbins; and others.
Following are selected quotes from The Mysterious Disappearance that Changed a Super Bowl:
“Came to the hotel in a cab with a couple guys that just were hanging out with me. And I don’t – to this day, I don’t know who they were – but I got to my hotel, filled my backpack up with all the liquor from the minibar and took off toward Mexico.” – Barret Robbins on leaving the team hotel for Mexico two days before Super Bowl XXXVII
“After the walk-through, we informed the league. They’re able to put out an all-points bulletin for him. We don’t know if he’s been kidnapped. We don’t know where he is or what condition he’s in.” – Former Raiders GM Bruce Allen on informing the NFL of Barret Robbins’ disappearance
“There were a number of players who felt that Barret’s absence was so deflating for the team, that they felt they had lost the game before it had even begun.” – NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer on Barret Robbins’ absence and its effect on his teammates
“I was crying. I was in bad shape, man. I was so sad at that point. I knew it was going to end up leading me to not be able to play in the Super Bowl and live my dream.” – Barret Robbins on returning to the team hotel and realizing he might not play in the Super Bowl
“He was in a difficult condition, in that he was cheery. Because at the beginning, you’re thinking, ‘Wow. This is interesting.’ He had told me he was excited about that we had won the game and he asked to catch a plane for the Pro Bowl the next morning.” – Bruce Allen on Barret Robbins’ return to the team hotel and thinking the Raiders already had won the Super Bowl
“I saw a couple plays on TV. They were watching it there (in the hospital) when I got there. But I didn’t sit and watch it. Was there while I was on suicide watch.” – Barret Robbins on watching the Super Bowl from the hospital
“I can remember one day, almost a month in the offseason, where I couldn’t get out of bed. I mean, to think a man could have a $2 million house and $500,000 worth of cars, and whatever he wanted, but still be depressed and not be able to get out of bed. That tells you that depression is very powerful.” – Barret Robbins on his bout with depression
“I had actually, quite early that morning, had gone out on a run, and I saw Barret in the lobby. I ran into him, went up to my room, and not long thereafter, Al (Davis) called me and said, ‘Barret’s not playing.’ I said, ‘I just saw him in the lobby. He can play.’ And Al shared with me that others had made the decision to send Barret home. And I hung up the phone, and I looked at my husband, and I said, ‘We just lost the game.’” – Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask on her reaction on Barret Robbins not playing in the Super Bowl
“I think this guy was probably the worst thing that ever happened to the Raiders organization.” – Hall of Famer and former Raiders receiver Tim Brown on former Raiders coach Bill Callahan
“It was a shocker to everybody. I know for me, I just couldn’t believe it. I dropped my book in the meeting when he said it. I know my 17 years of play, even in the preseason, you don’t do that.” – Hall of Famer and former Raiders safety Rod Woodson on Bill Callahan changing the offensive game plan just two days before the Super Bowl
“So, we go into the Super Bowl knowing that we don’t have a chance to win. The guy who this is going to affect the most is Barret Robbins. Because Barret Robbins is the one who has to make all the calls. He is begging Callahan, ‘Don’t do this. I don’t have time to prepare for this. Please don’t do this.’ I was with him, and he’s begging him, ‘You can’t do this to me.’… Well, it’s that night that Barret went out and went AWOL. That night. Now, does one have to do with another? I say yes. You may say no. I say yes.” – Tim Brown on Barret Robbins pleading with coach Bill Callahan not to change the Raiders’ offensive game plan
“That was the Raider way, you know. You work hard, you play hard. That was the mindset. That culture was very dangerous, looking back now because when you’re in your 20s and the world expects you to win every day, every week, every season, it’s a lot of stress and pressure on you. And if you had no one to talk to about it, then any type of underlying mental issue you have, they’re going to come out sooner or later.” – Former Raiders defensive lineman Rod Coleman on the pressures of playing in the NFL
“Sports Uncovered: The Lost Barret Robbins Interview,” a half-hour version of Robbins’ 2011 sit-down interview from the Dade Correctional Institution, will air on NBC Sports Bay Area tonight (July 9th) at 10 p.m. PT. The show will also be available on NBC Sports Bay Area and California’s YouTube channel.
An original storytelling audio franchise, “Sports Uncovered” utilizes exclusive, in-depth interviews with prominent participants, witnesses and experts to explore new, underreported or forgotten aspects of well-known topics, personalities and events centered in each of the NBC Sports Regional Networks markets, but that have had national impact and relevance.
The next “Sports Uncovered” episode, The Bill Belichick You Don’t Know, features an in-depth look at the New England Patriots head coach. The debut episode of the series, which launched May 28, detailed Michael Jordan’s NBA return, the second installment covered how the University of Oregon ignited a uniform craze that revolutionized college football, the third installment focused on the late Washington Redskins and Miami Hurricanes star defensive back Sean Taylor, and the fourth installment featured the Philadelphia Flyers’ marathon five-overtime thriller.
NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico introduces each episode of “Sports Uncovered.” The list of notable guests featured throughout the series includes: basketball greats Dominique Wilkins, Chris Mullin and Steve Kerr; Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie and finalist Joey Harrington; Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown and former Flyers Brian Boucher and Keith Jones.
Click here for the “Sports Uncovered” series. Episodes are available for download now on all major podcast platforms, including: NBCSports.com/podcasts, NBC Sports’ Scores app, Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and iHeart. Following is the full “Sports Uncovered” schedule:
|May 28||Chicago||“I’m Back”|
|June 11||Northwest||“The Uniform Craze That Revolutionized College Football”|
|June 18||Washington||“Sean Taylor, the NFL Superstar We Didn’t Get to Know”|
|June 25||Philadelphia||“Marathon on Ice”|
|July 9||Bay Area, California||“The Mysterious Disappearance that Changed a Super Bowl”|
|July 16||Boston||“The Bill Belichick You Don’t Know”|
NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.
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