Nearly 20 years ago, Trent Dilfer publicly revealed during a documentary on the 2000 Ravens that he had always suspected his playbook had been stolen out of the Titans‘ visiting locker room late that season. As he found out years later, Dilfer was right.
While speaking on ESPN’s recently-aired documentary on that Ravens team, Dilfer said that longtime NFL assistant and former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams eventually fessed up to stealing his playbook.
“I’m at an NFL function with Gregg Williams probably 12 years ago, and he admits that he stole that sucker out of the locker room,” Dilfer said. “To this day this pisses me off. … He said, ‘Man, that must have been rough knowing that we had your playbook. So now you’re playing a great defense [and] you’re playing a great defense that knows the answers to the test before the test.”
Dilfer’s playbook disappeared following Baltimore’s 24-23 win in Nashville in Week 11. Not one to lose things, Dilfer’s mind immediately went to thinking that the playbook was stolen. Those thoughts were reinforced two months later when the two teams squared off in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“They’re calling out everything,” Dilfer said of Tennessee’s defense. “They know what we’re doing before we’re going to do it.”
Despite their tactical advantage, the Titans still came up on the short end of a 24-10 score. While their defense held Baltimore’s offense to 10 points, Tennessee surrendered touchdowns on offense and on special teams. The defensive score — which occurred when Ray Lewis plunked Steve McNair’s pass out of the air and away from Eddie George — proved to be the game-clinching score.
After vanquishing the defending AFC champion Titans, the Ravens posting convincing wins over the Raiders and Giants to claim the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. Williams eventually got his ring in 2009 as the Saints‘ defensive coordinator, but was later forced to serve a yearlong suspension for his role in New Orleans’ bounty scandal. He most recently served as the Jets‘ defensive coordinator in 2020.