Early Look: Raiders and Steelers Set to Stoke the Fires

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Raiders QB Kenny Stabler (12) completed 82 percent of his passes during the Silver and Black's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1973 AFC Divisional Playoffs.

The Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers renew a rivalry that dates back to the early 1970s Sunday, November 8, at Heinz Field in the Steel City. These two teams share a storied history and have accounted for nine Super Bowl championships and 13 total Super Bowl appearances between them.

Photos of the Raiders taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the years.

This rivalry began with a game and a play too painful too mention (still too soon). And it always seemed like the Steelers were in the Raiders way in the 1970s. The teams met in the playoffs five times from 1972-76, with the Steelers winning three. The Raiders lead the all-time regular season series 12-9.

The Raiders have had their share of recent success against the Black and Gold. Since 2000, the Raiders are 5-4 against the Steelers. Perhaps my most memorable experience came on Sunday Night Football in 2002. The Raiders called 70 pass plays, quarterback Rich Gannon threw for 403 yards, running back Charlie Garner did his best Barry Sanders impressions, running back Terry Kirby returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown and the Raiders won 30-17.

I'll never forget Bruce Gradkowski's homecoming in 2009, when he tossed three touchdown passes in the 4th quarter including the game-winner with nine seconds left. There are many more great moments in this rivalry and there is no love lost. Just ask Lynn Swann and George Atkinson.

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Here are some interesting notes about the series:**

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is suspended for the first three games of the season.

Former Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski, WR Darius Heyward-Bey and safety Mike Mitchell are all with the Steelers.

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau moved on to the Tennessee Titans and has been replaced by Keith Butler.

Former Raiders strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont serves in the same capacity with the Steelers.

Oakland will travel approximately 26,368 miles in the regular season, including three trips to the Eastern time zone.

Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio is 3-3 against the Steelers in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason.

The AFC North features three teams (Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pitts­burgh) that had 10-or-more wins in 2014.

Oakland is 42-34 (.553) all-time against the AFC North.

The Raiders own a two-game winning streak against the Steelers, with home wins on Sept. 23, 2012 (34-31) and Oct. 27, 2013 (21-18).

Oakland has won four of the last five meetings and claims a 5-4 re­cord in the series since 2000.

The Raiders and Steelers battled each other in three straight AFC Championship games from 1974-76, with the Raiders winning the 1976 AFC Championship, 24-7, at home on Dec. 26, 1976.

This year's contest will mark the Raiders' first trip to Pittsburgh, where the Raiders are 5-5 in the regular season and 0-2 in the post­season, since Nov. 21, 2010 (35-3, Steelers).

Raiders assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson was drafted in the first round (10th overall) by Pittsburgh in the 1987 NFL Draft. He appeared in 134 games with 125 starts and 38 interceptions with the Steelers. Woodson returned to Pittsburgh as a training camp coaching intern in 2013.

This season's matchup will be S Charles Woodson's eighth career game against the Steelers, including the Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl XLV win, 31-25, on Feb. 6, 2011. He has recorded 40 tackles (29 solo) and one interception in those contests.

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