The Broncos and Raiders fist met on October 2, 1960.
They’ve played each other 116 times since that first meeting, a Raiders victory. Oakland leads the series 63-52-2. Some of the best and worst games in Broncos history have come against the Raiders. It is a true NFL rivalry and has gone on for nearly 60 years.
I don’t know if it’s a thing that’s happened overall to the rivalry or if it is just me but there’s not the depth of dislike for Oakland that there has been in the past. I like Derek Carr, I liked Kahlil Mack. I’ve gotten to the place in life that if the Broncos aren’t going to win the division, conference or Super Bowl, I’d rather someone from our division does. As long as it’s not the Chargers, that is, I will dislike the Chargers for whatever is left of Phillip Rivers’ career.
That softening of attitude doesn’t necessarily change or disrupt the rivalry, it just reduces it to game-day. When the Broncos are playing the Raiders, hate on. Otherwise, go Raiders (and, honestly, go Chiefs). If that makes me you uncomfortable, so be it.
Sunday’s game will be a renewal of the rivalry, at the center of that will be Jon Gruden, the new/old Raiders coach.
The last time Gruden was on the sideline at Mile High was 2001. A different era of Raider football, a different time in the NFL. He represents that old-school Raiders thing that while entertaining, never produced anything favorable for Oakland.
All of the bluster over commitment and reputation should take a backseat to actual on-field improvement. Among Gruden’s first moves as King of the Raiders was to release Marquette King, without even a conversation with the mercurial punter. Followed with the well-documented Mack saga, Gruden’s M.O. seems more like shtick than legitimate effort to improve the Raiders.
It’s long past the time for the Raiders to let go of the bad-boy image that’s never really translated into any on-field success. They have a stud quarterback, something about 28 of the 32 NFL teams would sacrifice anything for. They have a new stadium and fan base in Las Vegas, they have an opportunity to re-establish themselves.
If only they can let go of the dated bad-boy routine and possibly look at a coach that’s ideas aren’t locked in the 90’s, Oakland has an opportunity to break out, Black and Silver appeal to a lot of people.
Just not on Sunday. On Sunday they can just be the same old Raiders.