In the eighth of Thin Air’s Rate Your Hate series, we consider the teams of the NFC West.
Most readers are familiar enough with the Broncos’ division rivals, and given the extensive history, picking out a list of games as was done for the other teams would be too exhaustive. So this article will sum up some relevant win-loss records for each rival, and conclude with some notable players that crossed lines in the eternal battle for the AFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs
- All time record: Chiefs lead 55-59
- Post-merger record: Broncos lead 54-40
- Record under Pat Bowlen: Broncos lead 40-27
- Record under John Elway: Broncos lead 21-12 as a player; Broncos lead 8-4 as an executive–in total, Broncos lead 29-16
- Playoff record: Broncos lead 1-0 (1997 AFC divisional game)
Notable crossovers: The Broncos drafted a future Hall of Famer in Curley Culp…only to cut him and see the Chiefs reap the benefits–including a Super Bowl ring in 1969. It took a while, but the Broncos got their own revenge when they signed long time Chief Neil Smith away in 1997…and now Kansas City had to watch him immediately win two Super Bowl rings back to back.
A couple infamous crossovers included Dale Carter going from Kansas City to Denver in one of Mike Shanahan’s worst free agency signings, and Eddie Kennison going from Denver to Kansas City after a controversial period in which Broncos players made it clear they felt Kennison had quit on the team.
Currently, former popular Chiefs Jamaal Charles will try to continue his career in Denver for 2017.
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers
- All time record: Broncos lead 64-50-1
- Post-merger record: Broncos lead 59-35-1
- Record under Pat Bowlen: Broncos lead 43-23
- Record under John Elway: Broncos lead 22-10 as a player; Broncos lead 10-3 as an executive–in total, Broncos lead 32-13
- Playoff record: Broncos lead 1-0 (2013 AFC divisional game)
Notable crossovers: Most of the crossovers happened when offensive coordinator Mike McCoy became the Chargers’ head coach in 2012. Among them include Eddie Royal, Orlando Franklin and Mitch Unrein. The Broncos returned serve in 2013 by signing long time Chargers Shaun Phillips and Quentin Jammer, and also got them an AFC Championship, something that San Diego was notorious for failing at during the prime of their careers.
Las Vegas Oakland Raiders
- All time record: Raiders lead 51-62-2
- Post-merger record: Tied 47-47-1
- Record under Pat Bowlen: Broncos lead 39-28
- Record under John Elway: Raiders lead 15-18 as a player; Broncos lead 9-3 as an executive–in total, Broncos lead 24-21
- Playoff record: Tied 1-1 (Broncos won 20-17 in 1977 AFC Championship Game; Raiders won 42-24 in 1993 wild card game)
Notable crossovers: The Broncos traded Willie Brown to the Raiders after four seasons…only to watch him rack up multiple Pro Bowls and play 11 seasons toward a Hall of Fame career. Lyle Alzado also crossed over to the dark side after a brief stop in Cleveland.
Al Davis thought he could poach his biggest fish from Denver in 1988 with Mike Shanahan…only to end up in one of the greatest coach/owner feuds in NFL history, and then watched him go back to Denver promptly after firing him. After a brief stop in San Francisco (in which Shanahan convinced Steve Young to throw a football at Davis in a preseason game against the 49ers’ then-former Bay rivals), he returned to Denver again as head coach, racking up two Super Bowl titles and a 21-7 record against the Raiders.
A crossover that doesn’t get much attention nowadays is when, after the Broncos cut him, the Raiders signed Javon Walker to a six year, $55 million deal with $16 million guaranteed. What did the Raiders get out of that monster contract? 15 catches, 196 yards, and 1 touchdown.
More recently, the Raiders have hired two consecutive defensive coordinators away from the Broncos: they poached Dennis Allen in 2012, and then went after Jack Del Rio after the Broncos fired John Fox.