The anticipation for Thursday’s Chiefs-Raiders game is unlike anything seen in a generation.
It’s been 25 years since the teams played a game of this importance. The winner of Thursday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium will be the AFC West leaders (the Chiefs would hold the tie-breaker on Oakland), while the loser would be the No. 5 seed in the current AFC playoff picture.
Will this Chiefs-Raiders game be one of the best ever? That remains to be seen, but the hype leading up to this game is huge.
Here are five other Chiefs-Raiders games that had fans hyped before kickoff.
1969 AFL Championship Game
The Raiders players literally brought their luggage to the stadium for a trip to Super Bowl IV, which would be played a week later. There was reason for the confidence. Oakland finished the regular season 12-1-1, while the Chiefs made the playoffs as a wild card after finishing 11-3. Two of those losses were to Oakland: 27-24 on Nov. 23 and 10-6 on Dec. 13. But after taking a 7-0 lead, the Raiders watched the Chiefs score the final 17 points. Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica threw three interceptions and George Blanda tossed a fourth (and missed three field goals) as the Chiefs pulled the upset with a 17-7 victory.
Back-to-back in 1991
The Chiefs and Raiders entered the season finale in 1991 in Los Angeles with identical 9-6 records. That was a time of three divisions and three wild cards, and both teams were assured of making the playoffs. But home-field advantage was on the line. The Chiefs won the final regular-season game 27-21, despite three touchdown passes from Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich, who made his NFL debut in place of the injured Jay Schroeder. In the playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs had four interceptions against Marinovich and won 10-6. It was the Chiefs’ first playoff win since Super Bowl IV.
End of the glory years
Chiefs fans didn’t know it, but the 1973 season would be the last time the team would finish with a winning record until 1981. The glory years (two Super Bowl appearances in four seasons) were behind them, but in the Chiefs’ penultimate game of the 1973 season, they were playing the Raiders for first place in the AFC West. Oakland entered the game 7-4-1, while the Chiefs were 6-4-2. The game was played on Dec. 8 in Oakland, and things didn’t go well for the Chiefs, who lost 37-7 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
Bo Jackson’s first game at Arrowhead
After wowing Royals fans during 141 games in the 1986-87 seasons, Jackson played his first NFL game in Kansas City on Dec. 13, 1987. A crowd of 63,834 showed up for this Chiefs game against the Raiders and was the largest at Arrowhead in a December game in 24 years. It was much ado about nothing. Jackson injured his ankle and had 1 yard rushing on three attempts and caught a pass for 4 yards. The good news? The Chiefs won 16-10.
This game may not have been the most anticipated, but it’s certainly one game fans remember. The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs were just 3-3 when they prepared to play host to the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 1, 1970. The Chiefs needed a win to get things turned around and led 17-14 when Len Dawson ran for a first down that would have let them run out the clock. But Oakland’s Ben Davidson speared Dawson while he was on the ground. Otis Taylor went after Davidson and the benches emptied. Both teams were penalized and the play had to be run again. The Chiefs didn’t get the first down, had to punt and Oakland ended up kicking a game-tying field goal. The tie hurt the Chiefs in the race for the AFC West title. They finished the year 7-5-2, while the Raiders went 8-4-2 and won the West. But ... it’s also worth noting that Oakland beat the Chiefs 20-6 on Dec. 12.