It used to be one of the great rivalries in the NFL. Now? Not.
The problem is that, with both the Raiders and Chiefs mutually mired in years of mediocre-at-best performances, the game hasn’t meant much lately. This year, the stakes entail (as they seem to so often do) escaping the basement in the AFC West.
Indeed, it’s been 21 years since the two teams played a truly big game, with the Chiefs beating the Raiders at Arrowhead in the playoffs. The Chiefs haven’t been doing much beating of the Raiders at Arrowhead lately, with Oakland winning five in a row in the place where once upon a time the Chiefs rarely got beat.
“The rivalry, it’s lost a little bit,” former Chiefs offensive lineman Ed Budde tells Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star. “Back when we played, those games meant so much, and there was so much bad blood, you thought the rivalry would continue that way forever.”
It feels like forever ago when the Chiefs and Raiders routinely were engaged in heated battles every time they played. Per Teicher, there’s now no buzz associated with the return of the Raiders to Kansas City.
A former Raider turned Chief sees it differently. “Every rivalry in the AFC West is special,” cornerback Stanford Routt tells Teicher. “I’m sure people that play in the NFC North or the AFC South feel their rivalries are special. Anytime there’s two teams in same division, you’re always going to have that, whether it’s Giants-Cowboys, Packers-Vikings, Falcons-Saints, 49ers-Cardinals, whatever.”
“Whatever” is the most common response when it comes to the Raiders and the Chiefs. It’ll change only when one or both of the teams become consistently competitive.
At times, it feels like it’ll continue the way it now is forever.