From 1960 to about 1975, there was no rivalry between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. The Broncos were a doormat to the rest of the league. An embarrassment. Then it all changed forever. From 1975 to 2004, the rivalry between the two franchises was among the greatest in the NFL.
The very first NFL game I attended was an alumni game between the late 70’s era Broncos and Raiders. I remember my mother being irate that Lyle Alzado was suiting up for the silver and black, but other than that, I remember very little about that game other than the fireworks that followed this meaningless summer contest.
...actually, that’s not entirely true.
I also remember a fragile old woman who had too much to drink working her way down the ramps of old Mile High screeching Raiders war chants as we shuffled our way out of the stadium. The Broncos who had brought the city of Denver to Super Bowl XII (minus Alzado) didn’t have what it took to beat the Raiders of sometime around 1983. My mother was livid.
At that time, I had no idea the history between the two teams. It was then, as that woman coughed her support for the Raiders to an unreceptive crowd, that I understood that losing to the Raiders must never, ever, happen.
When it comes to the AFC West, there is no better rivalry than that of the Denver Broncos and wherever the nomadic Raiders call home. During the 60’s and most of the 70’s, the Denver Broncos never stood a chance against the powerhouse Raiders. In the time since then, Denver has shown that the Raiders are little more than an afterthought as the Broncos rang up enough Super Bowl victories to challenge the Raiders for divisional supremacy in the NFL.
There are some that want the Broncos to lose Monday’s game so that they may obtain a better draft position in the 2019 draft. While ordinarily, I would agree, there is never reason enough to lose to Oakland... or wherever they’ll be from these next few years. While football has become a business, the history of destroying one’s arch rival holds true. In a season marred by incompetent coaching and even worse play-calling, there’s no better way to make a case for any team who may be looking to hire a defensive coordinator (cough, cough Vance to the Bengals) than to beat the Raiders.
Three Keys to Broncos-Raiders
From games to players to postseason chances, the Broncos have lost a great deal in recent weeks. But if they are to beat the Raiders, it will happen because of what they still possess.
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