The Oakland/Los Angeles (now Las Vegas) Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have starred in one of the football’s most bitter rivalries since the 1960s—ignited by late Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt brokering the AFL-NFL merger behind the back of late Raiders owner Al Davis. On the field, the teams have competed in the same division for 60 years.
The bad blood may not be as palpable today, but the feud has produced a long history of heated and hard-hitting moments since their inaugural matchup in 1960—a 20-19 Raiders win.
“When you’re out there, you understand the rivalry,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It has been a long-standing rivalry, probably as close are you’re going to have to a college atmosphere that way, as far as rivalries go.”
Let’s revisit some of the rivalry’s best moments.
5. 1969: AFL Championship Game
Fresh off the controversial merger, the rival franchises faced off in the AFL title game for the 1968 season. Both teams were loaded with star power, yet only one side came to play. The Raiders blew out Kansas City, 41-6, sending them to their first Super Bowl appearance.
This may not have been amongst the competitive games of the rivalry, but it certainly added fuel to the fire for the Chiefs and evened out the hatred after Hunt’s shunning of Davis in negotiations.
4. 1970: The Brawl
Two years later, the hatred was still raw and manifested on the field. With Kansas City up 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson ran for a first down with 1:08 on the clock, only for Raiders defensive end Ben Davidson to spear him with the back of his helmet after the play while he was still down.
As you might expect, this sparked a melee that led to Davidson’s ejection—as well as off-setting penalties that forced a Chiefs punt. The Raiders responded with a George Bland game-tying field goal—and the tie gave Oakland the AFC West crown. Yes, the rules have since changed to count the first-down before off-setting penalties.
3. Oct. 5, 1986: Two Brawls
The L.A. Raiders traveled to Kansas City, and things quickly got ugly. The Raiders came into the game without Marcus Allen and took another blow when safety Van McElroy was ejected in the first half. In fact, the team’s engaged in not one, but two brawls that resulted in multiple ejections and suspensions.
Chiefs quarterback Marc Wilson led his team to 17 point-lead, only to get injured on the opening drive of the second half. By then, L.A. had closed the gap to 17-14. In the second half, 38-year old Jim Plunkett conjured up two scoring drives to lead L.A. to an unlikely 24-17 road victory.
2. 1990s: Marcus Allen and “Raiders Week”
Throughout the ‘90s, the Chiefs dominated the Raiders. Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer viewed Oakland as disrespectful and arrogant, and posted “Raiders Week” signs around the team facilities in the days ahead of each matchup with Oakland. The tactic worked: Kansas City won 18 or 21 games over Oakland under Schottenheimer, including a playoff victory in 1991.
In 1991, Oakland’s All-Pro running back Marcus Allen—who had rushed for 40 touchdowns and won Super Bowl XVIII in his first four seasons—feuded with Davis, leading to the star’s release. Not coincidentally, Allen signed with the team’s bitter rival to play alongside Joe Montana and face the Raiders twice a year. Allen would go 9-1 vs. Oakland whilst in Kansas City.
1. Week 17 in the 1999 Season
When it’s a rivalry, there’s always something to play for. In the final game of the 1999 season, the Raiders ventured into Arrowhead Stadium nursing various injuries and fresh off elimination from the playoff contention one week earlier. Kansas City needed a win to secure the AFC West.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but Rich Gannon’s stellar play and a blocked-punt touchdown brought Oakland back to a 28-24 halftime lead. The see-saw second half led to overtime, where Gannon set up a 33-yard field goal to give the Raiders the 41-38 win and keep the Chiefs out of the postseason.