Los Angeles is one of a few teams with losing head-to-head records versus all their division rivals all time. Thus, you know their biggest rivals will fall in the AFC West.
Historically, the Seattle Seahawks probably deserve a spot on this rivalry list since they were also part of the AFC West for a time. Seattle and Los Angeles are 25-26 all-time with the ‘Hawks having the edge.
There’s also the San Francisco 49ers, who offer the NorCal-SoCal and AFC versus NFC West vibes. San Francisco delivering the Chargers their one Super Bowl loss helps this rivalry too. Those teams are 8-6 all-time with the Chargers having the edge.
Nonetheless, there are five more historic and hated rivals in Chargers history.
5. New England Patriots
Finding a fifth-hated rival for the Chargers is hard. They’ve played over 30 all-time games versus the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
Miami is an interesting one since they’ve split four playoff games in history. The Chargers are 14-16 versus the Dolphins all time.
However, a modern Chargers fan will tell you they hate another AFC East team. The Chargers are 14-22-2 all-time versus the Patriots. That includes four playoff games in which New England has won the last three. Most recently, the Pats own a 28-14 win over the Chargers the last time they made the playoffs in 2018.
Don’t forget, the Patriots also ended the Chargers run in 2006 and 2007. 2007 ended 12-21 in New England for the conference title, a year after the Chargers lost 24-21 to the Patriots at home in the divisional round. Both those Bolts teams were poised for a title run as those teams won the AFC West title in the early years of Philip Rivers’ career.
The first playoff loss to the Patriots featured the fourth down interception by the Chargers defensive back Marlon McCree in the final six minutes. That pick was stripped on the same play, giving the Patriots a first down and eventually the tying score. It cost Marty Schottenheimer his job as the Patriots rallied from an eight-point deceit in the final eight minutes.
In 2007, LaDainian Tomlinson was hurt while the Patriots scraped out a win behind Laurence Maroney’s 122 rushing yards and touchdowns. Rivers also battled a knee injury and Antonio Gates had toe issues versus a New England team that was undefeated (18-0) at that point. The Bolts settled for four field goals versus a New England offense that featured Randy Moss and broke a bunch of records.
Those two crushing playoff losses are enough to cement the Patriots place among hated Chargers’ rivals, even if it is mostly one-sided hate.
4. Los Angeles Rams
This is the Bolts newest and probably most important rival. The two L.A. franchises will share a stadium for the foreseeable future and both will make their claim to NFL fans in Los Angeles. All time, the Chargers are currently 5-7 versus the Rams, but these games will get much more meaningful moving forward.
— NFL (@NFL) May 13, 2020
The Rams and Chargers already competed over a logo unveil and new uniforms this offseason. Pettiness should only heat up between two teams who share similar colors, relocation history and coaches hired the same year.
So far, the Rams are winning the race as they made the Super Bowl last year, have a longer history in L.A. and relocated a season ahead of the Bolts. Still, the Chargers actually started in L.A., they stayed close to SoCal in San Diego and appear to have a young and appealing roster. Expect this rivalry to heat up over the next few years.
3. Denver Broncos
All the teams and fans in the AFC West hate each other largely because they’ve been playing each other twice for 60 years. That doesn’t make the hate for the Broncos any less real.
The Chargers actually own the lowest win-loss percentage versus the Broncos compared to their other division rivals. This is rivalry ranks lower than the other AFC West ones since it is slightly more one-sided. The Bolts only beat the Broncos five times the last decade, including Denver sweeping both games last year.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Again, it’s hard to rank AFC West rivals because they’re all equally hated. The Chargers are 55-63-1 versus their division rival dating back to 1960 in the AFL.
Things could tip even more in favor of the Chiefs over the next few years. The Super Bowl champions still field one of the best coaches and quarterbacks in the League. Not to mention, Andy Reid owns the Chargers since he started coaching the Chiefs. Between 2007 and 2012, the Chargers won nine out of 12 matchups versus Kansas City. Since then, the Chargers have beat the Chiefs once and that was on a last-minute touchdown at the end of 2018.
In 1993, the Chargers beat the Chiefs 17-0 in the playoffs which, was a historic moment in that rivalry. It was also the only time they played in the postseason and the only time the Chargers beat a division foe in the playoffs.
There’s an added wrinkle for Chargers fans as this is a close runner-up for their most historic rival.
1. Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders
Anecdotally, people talk about the intensity of these games in Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles. At one point, the hate was so bad that fans were promising to switch sides on this rivalry if their respective teams moved home cities. Both teams ended up moving after the joint Raiders-Chargers Carson project fell through. However, it is the latest example of why the mutual respect and hate in this football relationship.
Overall, Los Angeles is 54-64-1 versus the Raiders dating back to 1960. The Chargers really dominated the Raiders the first three years they played each other. However, the Raiders won basically every game between the two teams from 1968-77. San Diego evened it out with dominance in the late-2000’s.
Lately, it’s been pretty back and fourth. All the games have been settled by fewer than two scores. The Raiders won the last two straight, but the Chargers won four in a row before that. Oakland swept 2015-16 while the Chargers swept 2012 and 2014. They split 2011 and 2013. The point is, this Raiders-Chargers rivalry is not going away ever.