The Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos renew their epic rivalry this Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Raiders lead the all-time series 61-50-2.
The Raiders and Broncos began play in 1960 as part of the American Football League. The Broncos took the first meeting 31-14 on Oct. 2, 1960, in Denver. The Raiders, during their inaugural season, defeated Denver 48-10 in the 1960 regular season finale at Candlestick Park. The Raiders finished 6-8 while Denver ended the year 4-9-1.
From 1960-69, the Raiders swept the season series six times, split twice, earned a win and a tie once, and were swept by the Broncos only once. By 1969, the Raiders were the AFL's top team and the league was amid a merger with the National Football League. In 1961, 1962, and 1965 the Raiders and Broncos were participants in back-to-back home-and-home games.
While the Raiders changed official colors to their iconic Silver and Black in 1963, the Broncos also changed from brown, yellow and white (with vertically-striped socks) to the blue, orange and white we are familiar with today in 1962. Their uniform evolved throughout the decade.
An exclusive look at the AFC West rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos through the years.
The 1967 Raiders began their march to the team's first American Football League Championship with a 51-0 triumph over the Broncos on opening day. The Raiders defense, known as the "11 Angry Men," held the Broncos to -5 yards total offense, and -53 yards net passing on the day.
The AFL and NFL merged in 1970, with the Broncos and Raiders still in the same division - keeping the rivalry intact. The Raiders were poised to carry over their AFL dominance to the NFL, while the Broncos and the "Orange Crush" were ready for an ascension of their own. From 1970-1979, the Raiders swept the series five more times, with Denver picking up both games in the series in 1978. The two teams split the series three times in the 1970s. In 1973, the Raiders earned a win and a tie against the Broncos.
After the 1976 season, the Raiders captured the organization's first World Championship of Professional Football. Oakland was on the verge of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1977. The two teams split the regular season series before the Raiders traveled to Denver for the AFC Championship. Denver won the controversial game 20-17 and secured their first Super Bowl berth. That AFC Championship game turned out to be little more than a speed bump for the Raiders heading into the 1980s.
The 1980 Raiders swept the Broncos en route to becoming the first Wild Card playoff team to win a Super Bowl. Denver rebounded to sweep the Raiders in 1981, while the Raiders won the only meeting in the strike-shortened 1982 season. The 1983 Raiders swept the Broncos again prior to demolishing all comers in the playoffs and Super Bowl XVIII. The Raiders went 11-5 in 1984, with two losses coming against Denver.
In 1985, the Raiders went 12-4, defeating the Broncos in two overtime thrillers. Denver grabbed their first back-to-back sweeps in the series in 1986 and 1987. In 1988, the Raiders swept the series by a total of four points. The two teams split their season series in 1989. Despite the emergence of quarterback John Elway and his fourth quarter heroics, the Raiders held the advantage in the close, hard-fought games of the 1980s.
In 1990, the Raiders captured another sweep, this time by a total of eight points. The Raiders swept the Broncos again in 1991, by a total of four points. The two teams split in 1992, in 1993, the Raiders swept the series by a total of six points. The Raiders captured another series sweep in 1994, while the Broncos won the series in 1995 and 1996. In 1997, the Raiders derailed the undefeated Broncos (6-0 at the time) behind running back Napoleon Kaufman's team-record 227 yards rushing in Oakland. Kaufman's record still stands. The Broncos won the 1997 meeting at Denver.
From 1998-2000, the Broncos captured the season series between the long-time rivals. In 2001, the Raiders split with Denver and then swept the series for the first time since 1994 in 2002. Denver got payback with a sweep in 2003. The Raiders lost badly at home in 2004, but won a thriller in the snow in Denver later that year, thanks in part to wide receiver Ronald Curry's immortal spinning circus catch in the back of the end zone that cut the Broncos lead to 24-19. Offensive lineman Langston Walker's blocked field goal preserved the victory.
The Broncos won the next five in the series before the Raiders snapped the streak with a 34-20 win in Oakland in 2007. After a home loss in 2008, the Raiders went to Denver and came away with a 31-10 win. The teams split again in 2009 with the Raiders engineering a stunning 20-19 come-from-behind victory in Denver, as wide receiver Chaz Schilens hauled in the game-winner.
The Raiders swept the series to start the decade. The Raiders topped the Broncos 59-14 in Denver and set several team records in the process. The teams split again in 2011 and Denver racked up an eight-game winning streak from the second meeting of 2011 through the first meeting of 2015. Quarterback Derek Carr and the Silver and Black snapped that streak with a 15-12 win at Denver, during which defensive end Khalil Mack recorded five sacks. The teams split the series in 2016, with each squad winning at home.
The teams' Monday night prime time battles alone have become the stuff of legend. They have met on Monday Night Football more than any other teams since the series' inception in 1970. In fact, the Raiders and Broncos participated in the 500th telecast of Monday Night Football in 2002, with the Raiders winning 34-10. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson recorded a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown to turn that game around. These two original AFL franchises have also locked horns in eight overtime classics, and have split their two postseason meetings.
With early jockeying for position in the AFC Western Division starting to heat up, this Sunday's game will be critical as the race for the division title comes into focus.