It wasn't only the 15 years he has been in the league, or the knee injury that limited his second season to one game.
It was also his rocky relationship with Oakland Raider owner Al Davis after Brown took Marcus Allen's side in Allen's long-running feud with Davis. Brown even tried to leave the Raiders in 1993, signing an offer sheet with the Denver Broncos, only to have the Raiders match it.
Gradually, Davis and Brown learned to coexist to achieve their goal of a Super Bowl ring. Brown reached football's biggest show Sunday for the first time, only to lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-21. And Brown, who caught 81 passes in the regular season to go over 1,000 for his career, caught only one Sunday for nine yards.
"Obviously I'm disappointed," Brown said. "It's tough. The way we played today, we couldn't have beaten the worst team in the league. They [the Buccaneers] can be beaten like anybody else. I'm not going to say they are the best defensive team I ever played against. We just stunk up the place.
"I'd like to play against them next week."
Brown could have been excused for letting his mind wander in the last few days. His wife, Sharise, is pregnant with twins and due any day. But Brown says his personal life wasn't a factor.
"I've been pretty good over the years at separating what's going on off the field from what happens on the field," he said. "Besides, nobody ran up to me on the field and said, 'The twins are here.' "
Although he is 36, Brown said he has no intention of hanging up his helmet for good with a Super Bowl loss.
"I'm not thinking about retiring," he said. "It's a little bit gratifying to at least say I got here once. Nothing can take away from this experience. I will always be linked to Super Bowl XXXVII win or lose.
"And now everybody knows what I'm playing for next year. Hopefully, we'll get it done."
And would he have retired if his team had won Sunday? "If the Raiders had come to me and said they wanted to move on," Brown conceded, "that would have been a possibility."
Are you talking about retiring, asked a reporter, who only caught the end of Brown's remark in the media interview area Sunday night.
"No, don't write that," Brown said firmly.
Even firmer was 40-year-old Jerry Rice, the leading receiver in NFL history, who didn't catch his first pass Sunday until 41 minutes and 30 seconds had elapsed. Rice wound up with five receptions for 77 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown catch.
"I'll be back next season," Rice said, "without a doubt."
Rice said that, while he is certainly disappointed for himself and his other teammates, he is particularly disappointed for Brown.
"I really wanted this one for him," Rice said.
Rice is used to winning Super Bowls, having been on the winning side in his three previous appearances, all with the San Francisco 49ers. He is also used to getting the ball in clutch situations. And he has been known to publicly complain when he doesn't.
But not Sunday. He understood the pressure his quarterback, Rich Gannon, was under.
"I am not going to say I wish I had gotten more opportunities," Rice said. "I am way past that. I can deal [with a Super Bowl loss] much better now. I'm more mature. If this had happened earlier in my career, I would have been devastated."
Brown, too, said his maturity was allowing him to deal with the biggest loss of his career. He was planning on getting on the team bus and making two calls: to his wife and to Allen to congratulate his former teammate on being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
"I'm old enough," Brown said, "and mature enough to put this behind me and move on. Right now, my mind is on raising two new babies."
A look at what Raider receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice did during the regular season and in the Super Bowl:
*--* TIM BROWN Rec Yds Avg Season Avg 5.1 58.1 11.5 Super Bowl 1 9 9.0
*--* JERRY RICE Rec Yds Avg Season Avg 5.8 75.7 13.2 Super Bowl 5 77 15.4