AFC West: 2011 Flash Points AFC

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Chiefs -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

Let’s start with the franchise’s move from Dallas to Kansas City in 1963. This is a historic franchise and it all really began with this move.

The shining moment in Chiefs history is the team's Super Bowl IV victory over Minnesota. There were some great players on that team and they are still the toast of Kansas City.

One of the most beloved Chiefs of all time was linebacker Derrick Thomas, who was drafted by Kansas City in 1989. A star on the field and an active member of the community, the Hall of Famer is still a major part of the fabric of the city 11 years after his death.

And let’s give the upstart current Chiefs some love. The franchise began to turn around when Scott Pioli was hired as general manager in 2009. The Chiefs won 10 games and the AFC West title last season and, once again, are relevant. The resurgence started with his hiring.

This is a history-filled franchise, and if you have a better option, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comment section.
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Broncos -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

A good starting point is the 1983 trade for quarterback John Elway with Baltimore shortly after the draft. Elway refused to sign with the Colts, but he was more than willing to go to Denver after the trade. It started a stunning 16-season playing career for Elway, who led the Broncos to five Super Bowls, including wins in his final two years as a player. Elway is now in his first year as the Broncos’ front-office football leader, and it all began 28 years ago.

Another nominee is the hiring of Mike Shanahan as head coach in 1995. Shanahan coached the team to two Super Bowl wins in his 14-year tenure with the team, which ended in 2008.

The drafting of running back Terrell Davis in 1995 in the sixth round is also a huge moment in Broncos history. Davis became an instant star and gave Elway the necessary offensive help to finally win the Super Bowl. Davis’ NFL career was cut short by injuries, but he was a superstar for a key period in Denver's history.

Our last nominee is the Broncos' upset victory over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos finally achieved what they and Elway were chasing for years.

If you have a better option, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comment section.
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Raiders -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

Any Oakland Raiders history lesson begins with Al Davis. He joined the team in 1963 as a coach and we all know the rest. Davis is arguably the most famous owner in the history of sports.

After years of playing the bridesmaid, the Raiders were finally champions with a thumping of Minnesota in Super Bowl XI. The Raiders went on to win two more Super Bowl titles, but this was significant because it was the first title and it came during the NFL’s golden age in the 1970s.

After leaving for Los Angeles in 1982, the Raiders moved back to Oakland, where they belong, in 1995. Before I covered the NFL on a full-time basis, I went to the Raiders’ first game back in Oakland as a spectator. It was electric, certainly one of the more memorable sporting events I’ve attended.

Not all of these moments are positive, and the trade of coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2002 qualifies as one of the negatives. The Raiders lost to Gruden and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa and haven’t had a winning season since. The loss of Gruden was a major hit for this franchise.

Honestly, I could have posted 10 options for this storied franchise. If you have a better option than what we have listed, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comments section.
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Chargers -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

The Chargers got a great steal when they nabbed Oregon QB Dan Fouts in the third round of the 1973 draft. Fouts and coach Don Coryell made San Diego’s "Air Coryell" offense famous. Fouts was a premier gunslinger, and while the Chargers never made it to the Super Bowl under his guidance, they were one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL during his heyday.

The Chargers’ lone Super Bowl performance, a lopsided loss to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX, is a bad memory. But it was a part of team history.

The Chargers set themselves up for a productive decade with the selection of running back LaDainian Tomlinson in the 2001 draft. He became the NFL’s best running back for a time and was the face of the franchise until his release in 2010.

In 2004, the Chargers made the best of Eli Manning's desire to not play for them. San Diego held the No. 1 pick, took Manning and then packaged him in a deal with the New York Giants that brought QB Philip Rivers to the Chargers. Rivers has developed into the new face of the franchise in San Diego.

If you have a better option than what we have listed, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comments section.

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