Bragging Rights: How a father and son are bonding over the Raiders-Chiefs rivalry


It's Christmas Day 1980, and while most families are coming together for a day of celebration and unity, the Christensen household is establishing the makings of an in-house rivalry.

Located about an hour-and-a-half north of the Bay Area in the town of Ukiah, brothers Jack and Larry Christensen have opened their gifts, and much to their delight found a pair of NFL jerseys, one for each of them. One is a Raiders jersey — given to Jack — and one is a 49ers jersey — given to Larry. 

From that day forward Jack pledged his allegiance to the Silver and Black, knowing that he'd be at odds with his brother — and roughly 90 percent of his family who claimed the Niners as their team — for years to come; however, little did then-eight-year-old Jack know that this was just a taste of the in-house rivalry that would come many years later.

Fast forward to the present; Jack now resides in Omaha, Neb., and a has a family of his own, but the in-house rivalry still exists. Jack and his son Gavin are sports junkies, but their allegiances lie with very different teams.

Jack is a die-hard Raiders fan, but his son is a die-hard Chiefs fan, despite his best efforts to raise him as a member of Raider Nation.

"He's a little mental, I think there's something wrong with him," Jack joked.

In most cases, this would serve as a recipe for disaster, but the pair of AFC West teams share a long-chronicled rivalry, which provides a unique relationship for the father and son.

"Obviously, right away like any dad that's passionate about their sports team, you go out and buy [your kid] a onesie with your favorite sports team," Jack explained. "So, that's kind of what I did, I got him a bunch of Raiders gear, and he was a Raiders fan until he was about five."

But then the shift began.

"Living in the Midwest you've got FOX Sports, and all they do is Chiefs and Broncos stuff around here. The Chiefs started to grow on him, and his mom thought it would be funny to have an in-house rivalry, so she pushed it too and started buying him Chiefs gear. Next thing you know he's a Chiefs fan, so he and his mom and sister gang up on me."

A Raiders fan and a Chiefs fan under one roof, not exactly a match made in heaven, but Jack's passion for the game has rubbed off on his son, and it's created the ultimate bonding experience for the two of them. In recent years — or since Gavin became a Chiefs fan — the Raiders have had hard time defeating their division-rival, but win or lose, Jack's greatest joy has been watching his son fall in love with the game and the atmosphere.

"When my son and I watch games together, like when we go, I just enjoy watching with him and having a good experience more than anything," he said. "Of course, deep down inside I'm hoping the Raiders win, but I find that when we go to the Chiefs games, and the Raiders haven't won the last three trips, I don't take it quite as hard as when they lose on a typical Sunday. Only because he had a really good time, he's happy, he had fun."

The first time Jack took Gavin to an NFL game, the Raiders were visiting the Chiefs in 2016, and both teams were vying for the coveted top spot in the division. Since then, they've been to three Raiders-Chiefs games, and this Sunday they'll be attending their fourth, and once again the Raiders and Chiefs will be fighting for the top spot in the division.

The journey from Omaha won't start until Gavin wraps up his basketball game on Saturday, but as soon as they get in the car his father has something special planned for him to kickoff the trash talk.

"I have [the Autumn Wind] in my truck and I plan on playing it as soon as we hit the road this afternoon."

Whether Jack was a kid, or an adult with a son of his own, family sports rivalries are a part of the Christensen way, and regardless of Sunday's outcome the experience shared with his son will be the ultimate victory — but a Raiders win wouldn't hurt either.

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