There are many great rivalries in the NFL – Packers/Vikings, Cowboys/Redskins, Jets/Dolphins – but none of them compare to the Chiefs and Raiders.
The Chiefs and Raiders have been doing battle since 1960 and this Sunday’s game will be the 90th meeting between these two original AFL teams. But what makes this rivalry so special is the fact that it is so evenly matched. The Chiefs hold a one game lead in the all-time regular season series, 43-42-2. The Chiefs are also ahead in Playoff match-ups with a record of 2-1. The Chiefs swept the Raiders in 2003 and have won three of the last four meetings.
So take a trip down memory lane with me and relive some of the great battles between these bitter rivals.
1999 Regular Season
Raiders 41, Chiefs 38 (OT)
January 2, 2000 – Arrowhead Stadium
So close. The Chiefs held the AFC West crown in their hands and were ready to place in on their heads, and prance into the playoffs. But the crown didn’t fit, and when Oakland’s Joe Nedney booted a 33-yard field goal after three minutes of overtime play, the Raiders vanquished the Chiefs from the playoffs, winning the game, 41-38.
It appeared this was going to be the Chiefs day. A Tamarick Vanover punt return, a James Hasty interception, and a Pete Stoyanovich field goal staked Kansas City to a 17-0 lead. But the special teams, a year-long problem, came back to haunt the Chiefs once too often this season. The Raiders blocked a punt to start their comeback, and by halftime led 28-24. Kickoff specialist Jon Baker was horrible, and set up the Raiders with good field position in overtime when his kickoff went out of bounds.
“If you have any idea how much my head hurts, right about here,” coach Gunther Cunningham said as he pointed to his head. “It says ‘special teams’ across that part of my forehead.”
The second half went back and forth, but when Elvis Grbac led the Chiefs on a seven-play, 43-yard drive to set up a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation, it looked as if the Chiefs were going to make it past the Raiders and into the playoffs. Except Stoyanovich missed the field goal.
“It’s probably the most frustrating football game I’ve ever gone through,” Cunningham said. “It’s just heart sickening to have something like that happen at the end of the year.”
The Chiefs finished Cunningham’s first season at 9-7, and while it was an improvement over 1998, the disappointment of being so close to the playoffs and not making it was tough to take.
1991 AFC Wild Card Playoff Game
Chiefs 10, Raiders 6
December 28, 1991 – Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs fought through injuries, squandered opportunities, but ultimately defeated the Raiders and won the club’s first postseason game since Super Bowl IV.
The Chiefs collected six turnovers, and harassed, rushed, and pummeled the Raiders rookie quarterback Todd Marinovich throughout the game. They also lost five defensive starters through the course of the game to injuries.
Barry Word rushed for 130 of the Chiefs 204 total yards, and Steve DeBerg hit Fed Jones on an 11-yard touchdown pass with just over five minutes left in the first half. The Chiefs never trailed in the game, but a couple of Nick Lowery field goal misses made the game a little closer than it should have been.
The win was the third time the Chiefs beat the Raiders in 1991, and advanced the club to an AFC Divisional playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.
1991 Regular Season
Chiefs 27, Raiders 21
December 22, 1991 – Los Angeles Coliseum
Christmas came early for the Chiefs and their fans. By playing brilliantly and holding off the Raiders in the end, they left Los Angeles with a 27-21 win. The victory gave the Chiefs a home playoff game against the Raiders. A loss would have meant playing in Los Angeles again the following week. It would be the first playoff game in Kansas City in 20 years.
“I can’t tell you how delighted this organization is – from Lamar Hunt on down through the entire football squad,” Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer said after the win. “I think it’s great.”
The offense was superb. Quarterback Steve DeBerg completed 14 of 20 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Barry Word rushed for 152 yards, and J. J. Birden caught eight passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Ever more impressive was that the Chiefs didn’t have to punt in the game.
The Chiefs led 17-7 at the half, and after the Raiders scored with just under four minutes left in the game to pull within 27-21, the Chiefs ran out the clock to secure the win.
1970 Regular Season
Chiefs 17, Raiders 17
November 1, 1970 – Municipal Stadium
Controversy swirled with the wind at Municipal Stadium, and after 60 minutes of typically rugged, slug-it-out football between Kansas City and Oakland, the Raiders walked away with a stolen 17-17 tie. No loss could have hurt more than this.
With 1:08 left in the game and the Chiefs leading 17-14, Len Dawson ran an unlikely 19-yard bootleg to the Oakland 29 that should have clinched the game. Raider Ben Davidson hit Dawson after the play, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty. Chiefs receiver Otis Taylor then hit Davidson after the play in retaliation. Both benches emptied, and confusion took over. When the flags and players were cleared away, the Raiders were penalized 15 yards and Taylor was ejected from the game. But the Raiders argued that if Taylor was thrown out, the Chiefs should also be penalized. After a long discussion, the refs agreed, refused to give Kansas City the important first down, called it a continuous play penalty, and stipulated the rules say the down must be replayed. The Chiefs contended that if Davidson was guilty of piling on, as he was called for, then the play was already over. The ball was moved back to the original line of scrimmage and the Chiefs had to replay the down. They failed to make the first down and punted. Raider quarterback Daryle Lamonica moved his team to the Chiefs 41, and George Blanda then kicked a 48-yard field goal with eight seconds left to tie the game.
1969 AFL Championship Game
Chiefs 17, Raiders 7
January 4, 1970 – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
It was payback time, and the Chiefs made the Raiders pay. After losing seven of the previous eight games to their top rival, Kansas City won when it mattered most, capturing the final AFL Championship game, 17-7. The win sent the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl.
A supreme effort by the Chiefs defense was the difference. Oakland completed just 17 of 45 passes, threw four interceptions, and gained a mere 233 yards of total offense.
Oakland scored first on a three-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, after moving the ball effectively throughout the period. But George Blanda missed two field goal attempts, and the Chiefs finally established some offense. Wendell Hayes scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and the teams were tied at the half, 7-7.
Blanda missed another field goal early in the second half. Midway through the third quarter, the Chiefs were faced with a third-and-four from their own 2-yard line. Throwing from the end zone, Dawson laid out a pass on the right sideline, and Otis Taylor pulled it in for a 35-yard gain. It was the biggest play of the game for Kansas City.
The catch sparked the Chiefs, and six plays later, Holmes barreled into the end zone to give the Chiefs the lead. A sequence of recovered fumbles by the Raiders and interceptions by the Chiefs followed in the fourth quarter. Emmitt Thomas’ 62-yard interception return set up a field goal by Jan Stenerud, and the Chiefs made the 10-point led stand up for the win – and the championship.
“It has great meaning,” Lamar Hunt said quietly after the game. “It’s the last AFL Championship to be won, and we won it.”
1968 AFL Divisional Playoff Game
Raiders 41, Chiefs 6
December 22, 1968 – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Humiliation in defeat. When the Chiefs took to the rain-softened field to play the Raiders in the AFL playoffs, they expected a tight, hard-fought battle that resembled many of the two teams’ clashes of the past three seasons. Instead, the game was realistically over before the first 15 minutes had been played.
“We came a long way to end it like this,” Chiefs end Reg Carolan said after the game. A very bad ending.
Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica hit touchdown passes of 24, 23, and 44 yards in the first period, and then applied the clincher late in the second period, a 54-yard bomb to Fred Biletnikoff to put the Raiders up 28-6 at the half. The Chiefs never recovered.
Chiefs coach Hank Stram said the Raiders were great, but had nothing to say about the performance of his team, which sputtered, stalled, and made mistake after mistake throughout the game. Len Dawson threw four interceptions, and the running game, the strong point of the offense, was shut down by the Raiders aggressive defense and netted only 70 yards. The Raiders played mistake free and totaled 454 yards of total offense.
The win advanced the Raiders to the AFL Championship game, where they met the Jets in New York. The Chiefs went home.
1968 Regular Season
Chiefs 24, Raiders 10
October 20, 1968 – Municipal Stadium
Hank Stram pulled a few pages from football’s past an installed a T-formation running attack into his offense that helped the Chiefs literally run over the Raiders, 24-10. With his receiving corps crippled by injuries – Otis Taylor and Gloster Richardson were both out – Stram felt the overemphasis on the running game would work, and he was right. Mike Garrett and Robert Holmes lined up at the two halfback spots, and Wendell Hayes settled in at fullback. The Chiefs also employed two tight ends.
Garrett ran for 109 yards, Robert Holmes for 95 yards, and Wendell Hayes for 89 yards, as the Chiefs totaled 294 yards rushing on 60 attempts. Len Dawson threw just three passes, an AFL record for fewest attempts in a game. Hayes scored two of the touchdowns on runs of one and 11 yards.
“You have to do what you think is best when your squad situation is the way it was,” Stram said of the game plan. The win moved the Chiefs one and a half games ahead of the Raiders in the standings.
1962 Regular Season
Texans 35, Raiders 7
November 25, 1962 – Cotton Bowl
The Texans clinched a tie for the AFL West Division by routing the Raiders at the Cotton Bowl. Len Dawson tossed a couple of touchdown passes, and Abner Haynes ran at will against the leaky Raider defense. In all, the Texans compiled 281 yards rushing and 129 yards passing. Haynes also returned eight punts for 112 yards. The Chargers loss to the Oilers clinched the tie for Dallas. The only disappointing thing about the win was the small crowd of 13,557 spectators at the Cotton Bowl; despite the winning team and prospect of a division championship, the Texans were still losing the attendance war with the NFL’s Cowboys.
Other Memorable Moments In This Series
December 9, 2001- Running back Priest Holmes gains 168 rushing yards and 109 receiving.
November 5, 2000- Elvis Grbac sets franshise records for passes completed (39) and passing yards (504) in a single game.
September 6, 1998- Derrick Thomas records six sacks.
September 12, 1985- Nick Lowery ties his own franchise record by connecting on a 58 yard field goal.
December 18, 1977- Tim Collier returns an interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
November 26, 1961- Abner Haynes sets franchise records with 5 touchdowns and 30 points in a single game.
Other Series Notes
Longest Chiefs winning streak – 7 games (1993-96)
Longest Raiders winning streak – 7 games (1975-78)
Chiefs season sweeps – 13 (last in 2003)
Raiders season sweeps – 12 (last in 2001)