The world we live in is made up of a series of checks and balances. Newton's third law illustrates this perfectly, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Every yin needs a yang, what goes up must come down, and every great rivalry is reliant on two opposing forces. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have been battling since 1960, which amounts to a whomping 113 game total. That breaks down to a 59-52-2 series spread, tipping ever so slightly in the Chiefs favor. While both teams enjoy historically winning records, the Chiefs are one of only four teams in the NFL with a winning record against the Raiders. Neither team has more than 9 consecutive wins over it's foe, however home field has historically been a safe haven for both teams. From 1990-1999 the Chiefs experienced a 10 game home winning streak against their bay brethren.
Raiders owner Al Davis April 14, 1983 outside of Federal Court (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Whether L.A. or Oakland, the Silver and Black perfectly embody the gritty, aggressive nature of their fans, city, and late owner Al Davis. On the field, the Raiders live and die by Davis' famous motto, "JUST WIN BABY!" This phrase has shaped the identity of the franchise, paving the way to 3 Super Bowl Championships. The motto has also made the hated Raiders one the most penalized teams in NFL history, including the 2011 season that saw the flag hit the field a record 163 times. Following the theory characterized by Sun Tzu in the book The Art of War, the Chiefs "know the enemy." Never shying away from the extra curricular, hard hitting intensity that has made this rivalry one of the most entertaining and brutal battles in the NFL.
A hero is not a hero if they are absent a villain, and the Raiders have embraced the role as villain with open arms. So when the Chiefs and Raiders square off, the battle brings out the best from both teams. As former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer used to say, “All I needed to say was, ‘Men, its Raider week,’ and they knew exactly what I meant.” For over 50 years this has been the matchup fans circle on their calendar. The air of Kansas City is never more filled with coarse language then the 3 hours these teams play. Bad calls, cheap shots, and late hits have typified what Raider Week means for Chiefs fans. A blood boiling battle of good versus evil.
No matter the records, nothing is guaranteed. Each team has delighted in playing spoiler, successfully sacking the opposing teams playoff hopes when a berth is all but clinched. For instance, when Romeo Crennel took over the reigns as head coach late in the 2011 season, he came up one game short of a playoff appearance and a perfect 3-0 finish to the season. The one game slip up came courtesy of Raider's defensive end Richard Seymour's TWO blocked field goals. A bitter end, but a critical piece to puzzle. The Chiefs hate the Raiders and vice versa, because historically, neither team has been able to dominate the other consistently. Even when one team has every statistical advantage, the outcome is often a variable. To borrow an old cliche', that's why the games aren't played on paper.
Chiefs Owner/Founder Lamar Hunt with then Head Coach Hank Stram
Perhaps nobody described this relationship more perfectly than Hall of Fame Coach Hank Stram, "We knew we had to go through Oakland to win the championship, and they knew they had to go through Kansas City...that made it a very bitter rivalry." Even former Raider defensive end Ben Davidson was quoted saying, "Those were my favorite games...I always likened them to a heavyweight fight. You knew you were going to get beat up, but it was fun. We needed the Chiefs. We wouldn't have been as good without them." This is the epitome of a good rivalry, the perfect illustration of balance. As the great Pele would say, "The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning." These cold-blooded companions are made better through their enduring disdain forged in the flames of battle. A tale told best by the simple moniker "Raider Hater."
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