When it comes to the AFC West these days, which of the Kansas City Chiefs competitors is the team’s greatest overall rival?
If you have grown up as a Kansas City Chiefs fan like myself, there are certain teams that you just can’t stand. These are the teams that even when the Chiefs aren’t playing them, you just want to see them get rolled. I am talking about the rest of the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos, L.A. Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders are the rivals that have made you yell obscenities at the TV, the teams that have made you say you never want to step foot in their city. These teams make the Chiefs victories over them that much sweeter.
Before I get into ranking them based on the bitterness of the rivalries, I’ll point out that I am 26 and as much as I love history, fresh moments tend to hold more weight. Your rankings could be different than mine based on the past.
3. Los Angeles / San Diego Chargers
I know they switched to L.A., but just like the announcers who call the games, I still slip up and say San Diego about 15% of the time. For me, it has pretty much always been the Philip Rivers-led Chargers who have faced the Chiefs. Those years are the ones that come to mind when people ask about them. Good talent, great weather, always underperforming.
Growing up what made this rivalry special was the player rivalries. Whether it was Priest Holmes and LaDanian Tomlinson trying to break records or Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates trying to advance the evolution of the tight end position, the player rivalries were always a battle.
This is by far the least bitter of the divisional rivalries to me, and I even tend to root for the Chargers when they play the Broncos or Raiders or some other NFL teams. The bad blood just really isn’t there. Chargers fans (kind of on oxymoron) don’t seem real passionate and they can barely fill a soccer stadium. With Rivers going to the Colts, the main instigator is now gone.
While Philip (Hold this L) Rivers was a pain for so many years, I actually will miss him in a way. I did not like him one bit when he played, except when he was throwing picks, but he brought a certain passion and he always respected the Chiefs. He has on multiple occasions given a lot of credit to Kansas City and their fans and I will always appreciate that. Plus, I will always remember the Halloween game because I was there, when Rivers had a chance to kneel and run out the clock but he fumbled and the Chiefs ended up winning. Good memories.
The Chiefs hold the all-time series record at 63-56-1 and have been taking control for the most part in head-to-head battles since the ’90s. I think the media, especially nationally, were trying to push the Chargers down everyone’s throat and that brought back some of the hatred. At the end of the day, however, not many people really took those predictions seriously.
Marty Schottenheimer was also a solid source for the rivalry after coaching 10 years in Kansas City with some great regular season success but failing in the playoffs time and time again. He ended up coaching the Chargers for five seasons with two outstanding regular seasons, again without playoff success. Anytime a former coach goes to a divisional rival, even after some time in between, those games will just mean a little more.
Still the Chargers rivalry lacks the intensity of the next two, especially without Rivers. Unless Justin Herbert can turn into the next instigator, the Chiefs have more hated rivals to worry about.