There are many reasons for the hatred between the Chiefs and Raiders, here are five:
1. Their bosses hated each other
It starts, as many feuds do, with two families.
The Hunts and Davises.
Lamar Hunt was the founding force of the American Football League in 1960 and planted a franchise in his hometown, calling it the Dallas Texans. In the Bay Area, Al Davis became a managing partner of the AFL franchise there, the Oakland Raiders.
The Texans moved to Kansas City for the 1963 season and over the next few years, Hunt worked behind the scenes with Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm on the AFL-NFL merger.
Davis had become the AFL commissioner in 1966 but Hunt and Schramm agreed that the NFL’s Pete Rozelle, not Davis, would be the commissioner of the merged league. Davis never truly forgave Hunt.
Davis returned to the Raiders, and the bitter feelings between Davis and the Raiders and Hunt and the Chiefs had begun.
“We were rivals, we were friends, we were competitors,” Al Davis said of Lamar Hunt’s death in 2006.
2. A bench-clearing brawl
With Super Bowl appearances between them, the Chiefs and Raiders were the top teams over the final four years of the AFL. The rivalry’s snapshot moment of occurred in the first year after the merger, 1970.
By now, Chiefs-Raiders had become known for hard hits, chippy play and general hostility.
It reached a boiling point in a game in Kansas City, where the Chiefs led by three with 1:08 remaining. On third and 11, Len Dawson picked up 19 yards on a naked bootleg. He went down by tripping over a teammate, but Raiders defensive end Ben Davidson speared Dawson in the back with his helmet.
In retaliation, Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor slugged Davidson and threw him down, starting a bench-clearing melee. Unnecessary roughness penalties were called against both players, and under the rules of the day the down was replayed. The Chiefs wound up punting and the Raiders’ George Blanda booted a game-tying field goal.
“I was in the safest place on the field, I was buried under a pile of Chiefs,” Davidson said.
3. Raider Week
Tailgating, Zubaz and Raider Week defined Chiefs football in the 1990s.
Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer made it his mission to beat the Raiders. What fueled his Raider rage? Schottenheimer saw the organization as arrogant and disrespectful to the NFL. He believed the Raiders were a cheap-shot team that violated the game’s spirit and put the team ahead of the good of the NFL.
“Raider Week” signs were posted in the locker room and on the way to the practice field, and Schottenheimer backed it up by winning 18 of 21 games against the Raiders during his tenure, including a playoff triumph in 1991.
“I have always just been very uncomfortable about the fact that the Raiders management has continued to steadfastly feel as though they’re better than the rest,” Schottenheimer said in 2010 on WHB (810 AM).
4. One of the Raiders’ biggest stars became a Chief
In his first four seasons with the Raiders, running back Marcus Allen rushed for more than 4,000 yards and scored 40 touchdowns. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XVIII for the LA Raiders. But by 1992, Allen and Al Davis were squarely at odds.
The Raiders released the popular Allen after the 1992 season, and his signing with the Chiefs served two purposes. It got Allen to a team on the rise, one that included Joe Montana, and one that would play against the Raiders twice a year. Those were payback games for Allen, whose Chiefs teams went 9-1 against Oakland.
“What do you think of a guy who has attempted to ruin your career … tried to devalue me and tried to stop me from getting into the Hall of Fame,” Allen said of Al Davis in 1993.
5. One of the Chiefs’ best hopes at QB became a Raider
Joe Montana retired. Steve Bono wasn’t the guy. Waiting in the wings to take over as Chiefs quarterback in 1997 was Rich Gannon, who had been the backup. But the Chiefs signed yet another San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Elvis Grbac.
It looked like the right move in 1997, when the Chiefs started 7-2 before Grbac injured his shoulder. Enter Gannon, who finished the season strong. But when it came time to pick a starter for the home playoff game against the Broncos, Grbac got the call, and took the crushing loss.
In 1999, Gannon signed with the Raiders and was the starter from the first day. He helped keep the Chiefs out of the 1999 playoffs with a season-ending victory at Arrowhead Stadium. Three years later, Gannon led the Raiders to the Super Bowl and was chosen NFL MVP.
“I made it a point in that first team meeting the first time we played (the Chiefs) just what it meant to the players in Kansas City. I wanted to make sure they were aware of how important this game was to the Chiefs,” Gannon said in 2013.