From the front office to the sidelines, the names are constantly changing. The two franchises continually evolve with the ever-changing landscape of professional football, but one thing always remains the same.
Since their days as two of the American Football League’s top teams, the Chiefs and Raiders have never cared much for one another.
There were Hank Stram’s classic battles with Al Davis throughout the 1960’s. Ben Davidson threw a cowardly cheap shot on Len Dawson to open the 1970s and an unforgettable bench-clearing brawl ensued. Oakland had its run of excellence in the 1980s. Marty Schottenheimer dominated his way through the 1990s. The last 10 years have been defined by tight ballgames.
Every decade seems to have its own theme, but the rivalry always pushes forward. All 105 games and counting.
Sunday’s win in Oakland brought back plenty of the past.
Players had to be separated during pre-game warm-ups. Once the ball was kicked, multiple flags were thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct and several more for unnecessary roughness. Some post-game hullabaloo added an extra storyline for the next meeting.
“Sum up of the game; 28, zip,” Bowe said. “Chiefs played not perfect, but near perfect. We’re out here fighting, out here fighting every play, scrapping.
“Every time we come to the Black Hole it’s like a Super Bowl game, that’s why guys go out here and play so hard on both sides of the field; that’s why you see a little aggression afterwards. Every time we play this game it’s like a Super Bowl thing.”
Flowers was immediately showered with welcome gifts.
“They threw ice, beer, fingers, everything,” Flowers said laughing. “I’ve got a couple pictures of some fingers getting thrown up at me, but it was a lot of fun for us up there in Oakland.”
The Chiefs won in Oakland for the eighth time in nine tries, but this meeting had a little extra juice to it.
Coaches did some barking, players more than played their part and fans from both teams were engaged. Even with its storied past, the rivalry got an extra shot of adrenaline on Sunday.
“The Oakland Raiders felt the same way that we did heading into that game and it got heated before the game during warm-ups,” Flowers said. “It’s a rivalry that I think both teams enjoy. It’s not like we hate the Raiders personally, but we definitely enjoy playing against each other.”
“I know the guys were into it and we preached all week, the night before and the day of that we had to concentrate on the Chiefs and not get caught up in that hoopla, to use a Romeo [Crennel] word, too much,” Coach Todd Haley added.
Confrontation never seemed far away. The added passion and intensity that separates this rivalry from others around the league was present throughout the meeting.
A game like Sunday’s is what helps a rivalry remain relevant more than 50 years after it first began.
“It was fun,” Haley said. “It was fun from start to finish.”
Following the game, Oakland wasn’t particularly pleased with Kansas City and the Chiefs didn’t seem to particularly care.
“I’m worried about the Kansas City Chiefs,” Haley said. “That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it’ll stay. We’re a team that’s trying to climb out of a hole, we don’t have time to worry about a whole bunch else.
“I think you’re seeing with our guys and the resiliency and the tough-mindedness that we’re making progress and I’m just excited for the guys and the progress that we’re making and we’ve got to keep it going and we’ve got a pretty big game this weekend. You’re not going to find me worrying about a whole bunch else.”
The AFC West is wide open again with both the Chiefs and Raiders involved. Arrowhead Stadium is set to host another meeting between the two rivals on Christmas Eve.
This rivalry is still very much alive. On to San Diego…