WR Chaz Schilens scores the game-tying touchdown in the Raiders 20-19 win over the Broncos in Denver in 2009. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
The Oakland Raiders will travel to Denver this week to face their long-time AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos. By many fans' standards the rivalry between the Raiders and the Broncos is one of the greatest the league has to offer. The Raiders have maintained the upper-hand throughout the historic course of the series, leading all-time 56-41-2.
The Broncos and Raiders began series play in 1960 as part of the American Football League. Placement in the Western Division dictated a natural annual rivalry that ensued for the next five decades. The Silver and Black prevailed dominant through the course of the 1960s against Denver. The Raiders, during their inaugural season, defeated Denver 48-10 in the 1960 regular season finale at Candlestick Park. The Silver and Black illustrated their dominance throughout the latter of the decade sweeping the Broncos ten consecutive times to enter into the 1970s.
The AFL and NFL eventually merged in 1970, with the Broncos and Raiders still in the same division - keeping the rivalry intact. The Raiders were poised to carryover their AFL dominance to the NFL. The Raiders swept the series through the course of the 1970 and 1971 seasons. The Monday night broadcast of the October 22, 1973 meeting between the Raiders and the Broncos provided to be a memorable one. The back and forth fight between the two teams resulted in a last minute field goal by the Broncos, to leave the game tied in the end 23-23. The Raiders avenged the Broncos later that season, by taking a 21-17 win to capture their third consecutive AFC Western Division title and sixth in the past seven seasons en route to playing in the post season for an AFC Conference Championship. The Silver and Black once again swept the series against the Broncos in 1975 with scores of 42-17, and 17-10. The Silver and Black destroyed anything standing in their way during the 1976 season, including the Broncos, taking the series both times as they continued into the postseason. The Raiders captured the organization's first World Championship of professional football that year. The Silver and Black then closed out the decade of the 70s with a 27-3, and 14-10 win respectively over Denver.
The 1980 Raider squad swept the Broncos while on their way to becoming the first Wild Card playoff team to win a Super Bowl. The Raiders won the only meeting in the strike-shortened 1982 season, at their new home in Los Angeles by a score of 27-10 going on to accomplish a NFL best 8-1 regular season record. The 1983 Raiders swept the Broncos again prior to demolishing all comers in the playoffs and taking Super Bowl XVIII. The season of 1985 proved once again a critical contest between the two. On the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, the game quickly turned into a brute showing of strength and pure will. The score was 21-14 with Denver on top heading into halftime. The second half provided for a tremendous showing by the Silver and Black, as the Raiders took the lead heading into the fourth quarter 28-21. The Broncos were able to fight back to tie the game in the last seconds to send the game beyond regulation, but the Raiders prevailed victorious with a 32-yard field goal kick leaving the score, 31-28. Two weeks later, the teams met once again, this time on Denver's home turf. The game which the Raiders trailed until the third quarter when the score was then tied at 14-14 showed untainted mental toughness as the Silver and Black fought back to end the overtime spectacle with a game winning field goal leaving them on top 17-14. The Silver and Black once again swept the Broncos during the course of the 1988 season, by scores of 30-27 and 21-20.
1990s – 2000s
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. On January 2, 1994 another great Raider moment that will be forever itched in fans memories was produced. In what was the regular season finale, the Raiders and Broncos entered the game with identical 9-6 records and were battling for second place in the AFC West. The game was an offensive showcase as the teams combined for 869 offensive yards. Denver held the lead for much of the game with the Raiders playing catch-up. The Silver and Black clawed back in the fourth, and in overtime, Jeff Jaeger hit a 47-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 33-30 win and sole possession of 2nd-place in the division. The 1997 season the Raiders handed the Broncos their first loss of the season, with a 28-25 win.
The two teams' Monday night prime time battles alone have become the stuff of legend. They have met on ABC's Monday Night Football more than any other teams since the series' inception. In fact, the Raiders and Broncos participated in the 500th telecast of Monday Night Football in 2002, as the Raiders took the meeting 34-10 and later that season 28-16 on their way to a fifth Super Bowl appearance. The Silver and Black took the 2007 meeting with a 34-20 win, also coming away in 2008 with a 31-10 win.
The last meeting between the two teams on December 20, 2009 was another one to go down in the history books. Oakland remained scoreless through the duration of the first quarter, as a Michael Bush rushing touchdown and two Janikowski field goals left the Raiders on top heading into halftime. However, Denver flipped the score and a 10-yard pass to WR Chaz Schilens, and subsequent extra point, in the last seconds of the fourth quarter gave the Raiders a 20-19 victory.