This Sunday will be the 118th meeting between these two storied franchises. They first played against each other in 1960 when the Chiefs were called the Dallas Texans. That game finished 34-16 to the Chiefs. Since then, this rivalry has swung like a pendulum from a combination of fierce and relevant all the way to bland and dead rubber. So here is a look back at a couple of the best games between these two, before they do battle on Sunday.
2017 Week 7 Kansas City Chiefs 30-31 Oakland Raiders
Now if you are reading this and are thinking I’m subjective to some recency bias, I’d implore you to go back and watch this game. In recent years, the Chiefs had been beating the Raiders handily, winning their previous 5 games between the two. So at the time, the 5-1 Chiefs came to Oakland to sweep past the measly 2-4 Raiders, what ensued was one of the games of the season so far. It was a titanic offensive struggle with Derek Carr playing his best game of the season I think, he finished with 417 yards and 3 touchdowns; Amari Cooper went crazy in this game, he led the team with 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. It’s his best performance of the season so far, and it’s not even close in a season which has been extremely disappointing from Cooper. The first quarter felt like standing underneath a waterfall of points with 24 being scored between both teams.
As the game progressed Oakland gained a 1 point lead midway through the third quarter, then Smith heaved the ball upfield seemingly straight to defensive back Keith McGill who let the ball go through his hands and into the arms of Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson for a 63-yard touchdown. It was one of the weirdest plays all season! The Chiefs had a 10 point lead with 12 minutes of the game left, what happened in those remaining minutes will go down in NFL folklore. The Raiders scored a field goal with 11:53 left, both teams exchanged punts. Till the Chiefs with a 7 point lead got the ball back with just 4 minutes left, they get to 3rd & 4 and Alex Smith gets sacked for an 11-yard loss, gifting the ball back to the Raiders with a little over 2 minutes.
Derek Carr then led an amazing 11 play 85-yard drive for the win. He connected with Cooper and Cook spectacularly on the drive, hitting Cooper for 39 yards, Cook twice once on 4th down to move the chains and another on an utterly incredible catch for 28 yards initially ruled a touchdown, giving Oakland a chance to win, but it was overturned as the refs ruled him down at the 1 yard line with a mere 8 seconds left. This led to one of the craziest sequences of play I can remember.
The first play was a throw to Crabtree who like Cook thought he’d scored the game-winning touchdown, but also like Cook had his overturned by the refs. He was called for offensive pass interference pushing the Raiders back to the 11-yard line, now with just 3 seconds left. The next play resulted in a huge drop in the end zone by Cook and the clock expired. The Chiefs thought they had won! But the refs had thrown a flag, defensive holding was called, so the Raiders get the ball for one last play with zero seconds left now at the 5-yard line. After this, Carr took the next play and threw it to Corderelle Patterson but he caught it out of bounds, seemingly it must have been the end for the Raiders. But hang-on they were playing the Chiefs so, of course, they committed another defensive holding call, extending the game by another play with zero seconds left. With the ball at the 3-yard line again the Raiders threw it, but this time they prevailed as Michael Crabtree caught the tying touchdown pass from Carr in the front corner of the end-zone sending the Coliseum into raptures. Now at 30-30, Georgio Tevacciho came on and kicked the extra point to seal this unprecedented win for the Raiders! The ending of the game was the craziest I’ve ever seen, and likely amplified the rivalry between the two teams, as it was such a heartbreaking loss for Kansas City while effectively saved the Raiders season by beating them.
1970 Oakland Raiders 20-20 Kansas City Chiefs
This was the first game between these two since the AFL merger of the same year, it was a fiercely contested battle, with a litany of Hall of Famers playing and coaching. 8 on the Oakland side in all capacity and 8 as well in all capacity for the Chiefs. This is a famous game like the one previous due to the way it ended. With it being described by NFL Films legend John Facenda
“Then all that remained was part fantasy, part outrage and totally incredible.”
It was 17-14 in favour of the Kansas City Chiefs with less than 2 minutes to go. Hall of Famer and Chiefs Quarterback from 1962-75 Len Dawson knew first hand about the rivalry between the two saying
“The games with the Raiders were not games, no games were fun. Those were wars.”
Len Dawson ran 19 yards for a first down and slid down to end the play, seemingly winning the game for the Chiefs. From there Kansas City would have been able to run out the clock. However, Raiders defensive linemen Ben Davidson who was one the dirtiest players in all of football, whose play can be summarised by this quote from former teammate Tom Keating
“Ben would hit the quarterback while he was getting into his car with his girlfriend after the ballgame, that wouldn’t be a late hit in Ben’s eyes.”
He ran after Dawson on the play, and after Dawson slid down Davidson speared him in the back with the crown of his helmet. This would be the catalyst for one of the largest brawls in NFL history, started as Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor took exception to Davidson spearing his quarterback and launched a barrage of punches at Davidson. They got into a fight with other Chiefs players running over to help Taylor. From here on out, benches from each team erupted and poured onto the field, with the fight causing chaos to the game. The officials were lost in a mele of angry, fighting players so they called two penalties once they had managed to calm everyone down. On the Raiders they called Davidson for spearing Dawson and on the Chiefs, they called Taylor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Today it would be a post-possession foul and the Chiefs would have kept the first down, ran out the clock and won the game. But back in the 1970’s, this meant the two offset and the Chiefs had to replay that third down. They failed to make the 4 yards, the Raiders got the ball back, drove down the field and George Blanda kicked a 50-yard field goal to tie the game. Also in the 1970 season, there was no overtime, causing the game to end in a tie. At the end of the season, the Raiders won the AFC West by that one game, it was agonising for Kansas City.
These are two of the best games in my eyes between the Chiefs and Raiders, let’s hope for another one of these standards this Sunday.