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Friday, September 12, 2008
Fans chime in on the best rivalry in the AFC West

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

I asked and you delivered. As part of our rivalry package, I wanted your feedback on what you thought was the best rivalry in the AF West. The response was overwhelming.

Because everyone was so thoughtful and passionate I wanted everyone to see what you are saying on the subject. Here is a sampling of your responses. Again, thanks for participating.

Cyoung: The Denver Broncos vs. the Oakland Raiders is not only the best rivalry in the AFC west, but the best rivalry in the NFL. Everyone loves to hate raiders fans, and Mcafee coliseum looks like a safe haven for parole violaters during any Raiders game, but no other team has as big of a reason to hate them as the Broncos do. For years the Raiders dominated the season series and springboarded past Denver into super bowl history. In the 1970's no team was more beat up on by the raiders than the Broncos. How can a team with a fan section called "the black hole" not inspire hatred, the sheer tenacity with which the fans the embrace the outlaw image the Raiders project only inspires more indignation. Even the team names represent contrast; a bronco inspires the image of freedom, galloping over expansive plains and living off of what the earth gives you for sustenance, a raider does not supply his own food, he takes it from others and engorges himself before moving on to the next victim. So answer me this how can these two teams not have the best rivalry in the nation, the fans hate each other (a bronco fan would fear for his life if he ever found himself near the black hole, and a raider fan would be shackled in irons if he showed up to Mile high. This is a classic good vs. evil rivalry, and the extent to which the evil side is adored by the raiders fans only adds more fuel to the fire.

Carl from Rochester: As a Chiefs fan the team I hate the most is the Broncos, but the classic rivalry in this division is Chiefs-Raiders isn't it? This one goes back to the start of the AFL and the games are always nasty. When both teams are at least decent, there is a big deal made about this game. It has kind of trailed off in recent years due to the teams getting bad, but it always seems there is increased animosity during a Chiefs-Raiders week for these teams. As I said before I detest the Broncos more than the Raiders, but when the Chiefs lose to the Raiders, the disappointment lasts much longer than when any other team beats the Chiefs.

Slim: The best rivalry in the AFC West involves the Raiders. Everyone hates them. Probably the Broncos are the most heated, but the Chiefs are heated too. Not to mention, there are fights at every Chargers/Raiders game. I'll settle with the Broncos, if only because its the time I can remember fans and players getting into it a little bit with fans throwing snowballs and hitting Lincoln Kennedy a few years ago. The best rivalry involves the Raiders and someone else, and ts not even close.

Jason from Colorado Springs: You asked for thoughts on the AFC West rivalries. Here in Colorado, the Broncos really only have one true rival, and that's the Raiders. The other teams we can hate, but it really depends on how well they are doing (Now seems to be the Chargers, in the 90s it was the Chiefs). The Raiders however, are so universally despised by Bronco fans year in and out, despite the records. One of the best selling bumper stickers is the "Raider Hater" ones. To best illustrate how much the city of Denver hates the Raiders, allow me to tell you a story. In 1991, Metallica was at the height of their popularity, and had a concert at the old Big Mac. It was a sold out show, and the place was packed. The fans went nuts when on the big screen, the showed the band in a video clip. Then, lead the lead singer (the band is from the Bay area) held up a Raiders hat, and the crowd immediately stopped cheering and started booing. And the booed until he removed the hat. If even a bunch of metal fans will boo their heroes if they dare show a Raiders hat on screen, I cant say how you can say any other rivalries are more heated.

Kansas City: For pure hatred I think the best rivalry is Chiefs Vs. Raiders. I'm proud to be a raider hater, yes I am. But Chiefs Vs. Broncos has been a more interesting rival, as the Raiders haven't been much competition lately. For some reason I could care less about the Chargers. Of course this is just a Chiefs fan talking...

Nicole from Eugene: It has to be Broncos vs. Raiders, due to the sheer hatred between the clubs.

Byron Edwards from Boulder, Co: Being a Raider fan in CO...I must say the Broncs/Raids is the biggest & usually is once of the biggest in the NFL. However, the Raiders being so poor lately (& the AFC West-besides SD) has down played the rivalry as of late. But rest assured I take the Broncs/Raids games like my Super Bowl 2x a year. (& Monday night was a deja vu of the SB vs the Bucs...big expectations & bigger disapointment).

Thornton: Well as of now, I believe the best AFC rivalry is San Diego vs. Denver because this year both teams will be battling against eachother to claim the AFC West.

Kansas City: Raiders-Chiefs is the best rivalry in the AFC West. It's got the most history, and as a Raiders fan growing up in KC, I can tell you the fans here reach a different level of fired up for the Raiders.

Chris from San Diego: The same as the best rivalry in the NFL: Everyone v. the Raiders. Of course, its a stronger rivalry when the Raiders are actually a decent team, but everyone loves to hate them.

Mark from SLC, UT: No question, Denver vs. Oakland. nothing else even comes close.

Joe from Columbus, OH: I think the best rivalry is where ever the Raiders are playing that week. Especially when we are good. You never really hear about Bronco week, Chief week or Charger week. But everyone has Raider week. When the Silver & Black shows up at Mile High, Arrowhead or Qualcomm, it's the best rivalry.

Brenden: Oakland-Denver by far the best in the west, and I've never heard of one more heated in the entire history of the NFL.

Chris from Boudler: Denver vs. Oakland. duh.

Michael from Longview, TX: For myself, as a kid, it's Chiefs-Raiders. Now, I'm 26, my experience with this rivalry had been pretty one-sided. But the Kansas City area had an electricity to it when the Raiders came to Arrowhead. Especially for Monday Night Football. I remember the slow-motion replay of Christian Okoye giving Ronnie Lott a concussion. On a side note, my all-time favorite MNF memory is when Denver visited KC, back when Arrowhead had Astroturf. At one point, John Elway complained to the officials that the fans were being so loud that he couldn't call plays. The officials actually had to threaten to assess a 15-yard personal foul penalty if the Chiefs fans didn't quiet down.

Matt from San Diego: Raiders and Chargers are the best rivalry in the afc west. It's been kind of boring lately though since the raiders have been trash, but it's still fun to mop them up every year.

Joe in Royersford: It definitely has to be the Broncos - Raiders rivalry. Granted both of these teams as of late have been floundering, so the rivalry gets downplayed, but the fans of these teams feel no greater joy than when crushing their rival. There is no game that I feel more strongly about than when my Broncos take on the Raiders, cause if you lose to them, it just puts a damper on your entire season.

Eric in San Antonio: Th
is one is easy. Raiders vs Chiefs. Just look at the history books. This is a rivalry all the way from the front office to the players (past and present) to the fans. IT'S RAIDER WEEK! It runs all the way back to the AFL/NFL. Denver and San Diego cannot say the same.

David from Beatrice, Ne: I think that the biggest rivarly is Denver vs Oakland. Mike Shanahan facing his old team and its lately been the broncos facing thier old players..(javon,cooper etc.) Every year when the schedule comes out, i circle the OAK games...as I'm a broncos fan. They split 1-1 las year so people saying they are one sided are wrong. Broncos vs Chiefs are a close second, but nobody hates a raider more then a Broncos fan. Go Denver!

Brandon from Austin, Texas: Its most defiantly Broncos Vs Raiders. Everyone hates the Raiders for starters. The Raiders epitomize what evil would be if you dressed it in a football uniform. My family has had Broncos tickets since 72' and we always highlight that game on our calendar. No matter what our records are it seems to be a great game (except for lately). I remember one year we had to play them in Denver on the last game of the year if we one we would play someone else in the first round if w lost we played them in there house. We lost and played them only to loose again in the first round. If that didn't stoke the fires. I hate the Raiders. I hate Al Davis. I hate the players. I even hate their colors. Most of all I hate their fans they always come to our stadium and start fights even their players start fights with fans. This rivalry is bone deep. Unlike with the Chargers who have become good only lately or KC which never seems to be as good no matter their record. Enough said Broncos vs Raiders.

Patrick from Boulder: You are kidding right? I saw a Broncos-Raiders game as a ten year old kid in the Black Hole in about 1995 on Christmas Eve (don't hold me to the date, but around then). Anyway, the Broncos were already eliminated from the playoffs and the Raiders had to win to get to the postseason. Instead of shutting down the great John Elway and half our starters, the Broncos played great and beat the Raiders to keep them out of the playoffs. With my whole family dressed to the T's in our Broncos gear in Oakland, we got a few choice words and gestures from the animals that frequent that cesspool. Even as a ten year old kid, I was not spared. I think this story epitomizes this rivalry as one of the greatest in all of sport, let alone the AFC West. And it's not even close.

Ryan from San Diego: Best AFC West Rivalry? It wouldn't include the Chargers. Fans in San Diego simply aren't into it, yet. San Diego as a city and county has a lot of transplants who take their love of their original city's sports teams to the real Southern California. The best rivalry would have to include Oakland, simply because Raider fans are crazy. They are the most loyal fans in all of sports, in my opinion. Oakland vs. Kansas City goes beyond football and that matchup gets my vote as the biggest rivalry of the AFC West.