NFL rivalries are epic and known for clichés, such as ‘throw out the record books when those teams get together.’
The great inter-division battles like Redskins-Cowboys, Patriots-Jets, Packers-Bears and Giants-Eagles are no different, thriving on everything except records. Regardless if one rival may be playoff-bound, while the other is three weeks shy of cleaning out its locker room, the game, the rivalry and the history of embittered battles remains paramount.
However, because the records of both the Chiefs and Raiders are not those of playoff contenders, their bitter AFC West rivalry is said to be of no more significance.
I took to the Chiefs’ locker room at 1 Arrowhead Drive and asked the players that question; I also asked them to described Oakland’s Black Hole.
Is the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry irrelevant because of both teams’ records?
“It’s always a rivalry. There’s always that atmosphere, that hostile atmosphere when the Chiefs play the Raiders. Unfortunately, it’s not a game where whoever wins goes to the playoffs or one of those types of deals, but we all love to play football. It’s one of those games where we’re going to be jacked to play and the best team will win.”
“No matter what the season is, it’s still Chiefs versus Raiders. It’s still a heated rivalry. It’s still an important game to both clubs.”
“The rivalry is going to be a rivalry, no matter what the record is. You’re going out there to compete and taking pride beating the guy across from you, because you’re aware of the rivalry. You know the fans are going to be into it; we’re going to be into it as well.”
“There has been a long history of a great rivalry between the two teams and we’re looking to go out there and get a win. We know that it’s going to be a physical game and we know that they don’t like us and we don’t like them, so it should be fun.”
“It’s still Raider Week, no matter what. We’re going into the Black Hole; it’s going to be an intense matchup.”
“Don’t matter what the record is, Raiders and Chiefs don’t like each other. I expect for their stadium to be packed, just because we’re coming into town. It’s going to be a physical game, a good game, which it always is when we play the Raiders.”
“I still believe this rivalry means a lot more than the season. I believe the ones (players) before us, who paved the way for us, made this game to where it is right now, a big-time rivalry in the NFL. I still believe that the intensity level and the atmosphere will be as crazy, because both organizations really take this game seriously.”
“This always comes down to your purpose as a man, how you approach the game. For me, it’s always whenever you’re out there playing, you play to win and I know there’s a bunch of other competitors in this locker room that feel the same way and I’m sure there are guys in Oakland that feel the same way.”
Describe the Black Hole:
“You got those guys dressed up in their black and silver, helmets on, yelling. My memory is (one guy yelling) ‘Hey Dexter McCluster, you’re 5’4, I’m taller than you, what are you doing out there?’ I’ve seen cups thrown, I’ve seen everything thrown.”
“Craziness. It’s fun to play there. It’s a tough stadium. Their fans take pride. They’re loud. They have a reputation for being mean and dressing up goofy and all that stuff. We know what we’re getting into and it’s a fun atmosphere.”
“Like a crazy college stadium.”
“Everybody’s dressed up. Everybody’s a Chiefs hater down there. We’re the only red in the building; there may be some Chiefs fans in the stands, but they’re not wearing red.”
Brady Quinn- “Tough place to play. There’s a certain attitude, a certain demeanor that the fans have there that’s unlike anywhere else in the NFL. It’s an experience. They like to get pretty loud there, especially when they see Ice Cube. Ice Cube really pumps the place up.”