By Sam McPherson
Go back to 1960, and you’ll see old-school versions of the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders squaring off in the old American Football League. Fifty-five seasons later, the two teams are still at it, and they renew their rivalry on Sunday in Denver. The Silver & Black hold an all-time edge in the series, winning 59 games while losing just 47 and tying two.READ MORE: California Gold Rush Town Typifies Labor-Shortage Plight Vexing Businesses
But the Broncos have won the last six in a row, and they’ll look to make it seven straight on Sunday. The 3-12 Raiders may not stand a chance this year against the 11-4 Denver squad, especially since the Broncos need to win in order to secure a first-round playoff bye in the AFC postseason.
Looking back, which games in Denver-Oakland history have been the best ones? The worst ones? We went down Memory Lane to find out the answers here.
Worst Broncos-Raiders Games Ever
- 1980: Oakland beat Denver, 9-3, on Monday Night Football, and Jim Plunkett was completed just 9-of-19 passes for 78 yards. The Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl, of course, but this was an ugly game.
- 1967: Oakland beat Denver, 51-0, on its way to a 13-1 regular season and its first AFL championship. The Broncos totaled -5 total yards (that is not a typo), and the Raiders backup quarterback George Blanda threw a 50-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to make the score 44-0.
- 1977: Denver beat Oakland, 30-7, at the Coliseum when the Raiders were the defending Super Bowl champions. After falling behind by a touchdown early, the Broncos rattled off 30 straight points on their way to claiming their first AFC conference championship that year—by winning a rematch in the playoffs.
- 1995: Denver beat Oakland, 27-0, in a rousing battle of eventual 8-8 teams. Yawn. The Raiders had 21 yards rushing, and John Elway threw two TDs on Monday Night Football at the original Mile High Stadium.
Best Broncos-Raiders Games Ever
- 2001: Oakland beat Denver, 38-28, to break a seven-game losing streak to the Broncos. Rich Gannon threw three TDs, and Zack Crockett had two rushing scores as well.
- 1988: Los Angeles beat Denver, 30-27, in overtime at Mile High. The Broncos were coming off two straight Super Bowl appearances, but the Raiders stepped up and beat them in overtime. Neither team would make the playoffs, but it was a sweet victory nonetheless for the Silver & Black to put Elway in his place.
- 1989: Los Angeles beat Denver, 16-13, in overtime at home. Elway would go back to the Super Bowl in the postseason, and the Raiders would miss the postseason again. The Broncos had the ball for over 44 minutes in this game, but they could only score one touchdown. L.A. intercepted Elway twice.
- 2004: Oakland beat Denver, 25-24, at Mile High. This was the only win in a nine-game stretch against the Broncos for the Silver & Black, and it was an awesome comeback. The Raiders scored two TDs in the final six-plus minutes to beat Denver behind four scoring throws from Kerry Collins.
Who knows if Sunday’s game will be one of the classics we all remember years from now, but there are so many years and memories between these two teams. Every game between the old AFL rivals just adds to the lore of the game—and every fan has her or his own favorite games.
What could make it one of the best? Well, for the Silver & Black, it would be a win in Denver that could knock the Broncos down a notch in the AFC playoff seedings. Perhaps something where Derek Carr out-duels Peyton Manning by throwing a last-second, game-winning TD pass?
Yes, that could do it. As the Raiders prepare to say goodbye to a uneven 2014, that’s just the kind of holiday present every fan in the Black Hole would like to share on Sunday.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.