Wednesday, October 19, 2011

27 chiefs / raiders classics

(mitch holtgus voice) It's raiders week, baybee!

God, I love raiders week. Oh, don't get me wrong -- the denver home game is my high, holy week of the NFL season. I LIVE for that game. I LIVE for seeing donkeys carted off the field, knees / arms / legs / necks shattered in fifty different directions. I LOVE seeing dejected, depressed denver fan after their annual ass whipping on the sacred turf of Arrowhead. I LOVE taunting said dejected, depressed denver fan after a three hour beating at the hands of the Red and Gold.

(I also love that of denver's last four head coaches, two were fired within minutes of losing at Arrowhead, and the other two were fired after seasons derailed by losing to the Chiefs. Screw you denver. Screw you!)

But I almost just as badly live for defeating the raiders. In the words of President Clinton, I "loathe and despise" the oakland raiders.

And so, I thought I'd look back at my 27 favorite Chiefs / raiders showdowns that I can recall watching, either in person or on TV. (That excludes anything pre-John Mackovic.) Hopefully you get to relive a few happy memories as a result. Enjoy.

27. Chiefs 29, raiders 23, week 13 1995. This game is memorable for a number of reasons. For starters, you had, in the ULTIMATE sign of "things to unfortunately come", the NBC broadcasting trio of Dick Enberg, Phil Simms, and Paul Maguire openly making fun of Lin Elliott's inability to hit an extra point. (stevo smacking his head, repeatedly, on his desk ...) You had 438 year old vince evans attempting to save the raiders season, and epically failing. And best of all, this game not only clinched the division for the Chiefs (with four games to still play!), it helped send the raiders into total freefall -- after opening the 1995 season by matching the Chiefs with an AFC best 8-1 mark, the raiders lost their last seven games. Good times!

26. Not a game, just a really happy memory. 1994 season opener, raiders at 49ers on Monday Night Football. Before the game, then 49ers offensive coordinator mike shanarat ordered future Chiefs QB Elvis Grbac to "hit al davis". He had his backup QB intentionally fire rocket passes at al davis. You know what? Let bygones be bygones. Mike Shanahan, congratulations! You're back into the land of capitalization of your name on this site! (Sadly, Elvis Grbac's accuracy was off that evening, as he narrowly missed a direct strike on al's head. Yet another "sign of unfortunate things to come" for the Red and Gold, I guess.)

25. Chiefs 20, raiders 10, week 8 2002. The end of the losing streak! The raiders had won five straight in the series, dating back to a game that will appear much, much higher in this countdown, even though we lost it. In the rain, in the miserable cold, the Chiefs absolutely dominated the raiders, to draw into a tie at 4-4 entering the bye week for both teams. Sadly, the raiders would only lose once more, clinch AFC home field, and win the AFC, but for one happy afternoon, all was right once again in the Chiefs Kingdom.

24. Chiefs 24, raiders 19, week 2 1989. Marty's first win as a Chief. Most importantly, it set the tone for the next decade -- losing to oakland was unacceptable. Marty would finish 18-3 against the raiders as Chiefs head coach (including playoffs). Nearly 20 percent of his wins as the Chiefs head coach, came against the silver and black. Too bad he wasn't quite as successful against the blue and orange.

23. Chiefs 30, raiders 0, week 14 1997. Total domination. The raiders were in abject freefall, the Chiefs were en route to a division championship and home field advantage in the playoffs. Most memorable moment was Chet McGlockton openly lobbying the Chiefs coaching staff to sign him as a free agent after the year WHILE THE GAME WAS IN PROGRESS. Pride and Poise boys, Pride and Poise! (Sadly, the Chiefs coaching staff listened to him. Let's just say, Chet McGlockton is on a very short list of "Stevo's Most Hated Chiefs Player" ever. He's certainly in the top 4.

22. Chiefs 37, raiders 34, week 12 1999. An epic Chiefs comeback, from down 14 with 8 minutes to play, to the memorable Mike Stock screaming on the sideline "doesn't matter, he'll make it!" to head coach Gunther Cunningham when Gun asked which hashmark Stock and Pete Stoyanovich preferred for the game winning kick. (And sure as sh*t, nothing but net on the 48 yarder! Seriously, given how, uuh, "vulgar" both Gun and Mike Stock could be in everyday conversation, what's the over/under on number of f bombs in that conversation? Fifteen? Twenty? Hell, thirty seems kind of low. I miss Gun sometimes. And I definitely miss Mike Stock.)

21. Chiefs 20, raiders 9, week 16 2006. The final home game of art shell's head coaching career. An awful game to watch, as the Chiefs really didn't do much, and the raiders did absolutely nothing ... but it kept hope alive, however faint said hope was, for the Immaculate Quadfecta the following week. (Also, kudos to the 2006 raiders for not only laying down and playing dead in week 16 against the Chiefs (to keep hope alive) and week 17 against the Jets (to get the Jets into the playofffs), but the one decent game they played all year? Was against the Steelers, a stunning upset of the defending Super Bowl champions that enabled the Chiefs to get into the playoffs (if Pittsburgh wins that game, they get in at 9-7 instead of the Chiefs due to head-to-head victory.)

20. Chiefs 9, raiders 7, week 10 1990. This might be the worst game I have ever paid to witness. (OK, I didn't pay, dad did, but still.) Also one of the worst weather games I've ever sat through. It was below freezing, it was sleeting, the astroturf field the Chiefs used back then was basically an ice skating rink because the field warmers weren't working. The Chiefs won this game for one reason, and one reason only: Albert Lewis. Lewis had a key interception to seal the win, which was nice ... but the only reason we had any shot to be in position to win this crapfest was because Lewis blocked a punt early in the second quarter that set us up with goal to go. Until Bernard Pollard's unreal effort in the 2006 finale against Jacksonville, this was the most impressive punt block I had ever seen.

19. Chiefs 28, raiders 8, week 1 1998. Derrick Thomas' next to last pantheon performance ... and go figure, it was against our "good friend" Jeff George. Thomas and the Chiefs defense sacked George eight times in the first half, en route to a blowout victory on the season opening Sunday Nighter on ESPN. This was Jon Gruden's debut as the raiders head coach. Definitely not a sign of things to come from the Gruden years.

18. Chiefs 17, raiders 13, week 11 2006. I know flashing back five years is difficult, but do you remember what the mood in Arrowhead Nation was like entering this game? Panic. Sheer panic. We were coming off a humiliating loss to the Dolphins. All World TE Tony Gonzalez was out with a knee injury, and nobody knew how serious said injury was. Trent Green was making his first start in two months. And yet somehow, at the end of the day, with the raiders having a goal-to-go with under 30 seconds to play, raider killer Jarrad Page picked off Aaron Brooks in the end zone to preserve the win, and set the stage for my favorite home game since October 6, 1991 five days later, the Thanksgiving night destruction of the denver broncos.

17. Chiefs 27, raiders 21, week 17 1991. The winner of this game would host the loser in the wildcard game the following Saturday. This would come up huge, because the sole reason the Chiefs won that game the following week (still to come on this list) was because of the crowd.

16. Chiefs 24, raiders 21, week 9 1991. A late DeBerg to Stephone Paige touchdown gave the Chiefs the win on a Monday night in early November. It's hard to remember this now, but once upon a time, you were guaranteed at least one Chiefs / raiders showdown in primetime every year. (1991 at KC, 1992 at KC, 1994 at KC, 1996 at oakland, 1997 at oakland, 1998 at KC and at oakland, 2003 at oakland, 2004 at KC, 2005 at oakland, 2006 at oakland.) Here's to hoping both teams give NBC a reason to flex the Christmas Eve game into the primetime slot.

15. Another couple happy memories, this time courtesy of a man warmly remembered on this site for doing at least one thing right -- saving the Chiefs franchise. I get that Chiefs fans completely soured on Carl Peterson by the end, and God knows (all you have to do is click on any non-denver home game recap from 2008) I was ready for a change too, but give Carl this -- if he (and Marty) hadn't arrived when they did, and immediately turned this team around, we'd be playing in Baltimore or St. Louis or Charlotte right now.

Anyways, after (I think) the game that will appear at number two on this list, Carl found himself sharing an elevator with raiders owner al davis. Carl, always the warm, friendly, amiable sort, graciously and warmly extended his hand towards al davis and said "good game, al." al davis replied "not now, Carl." To which Carl responded "then not ever, al". I believe this is the last time the two ever spoke.

Even better though, was Carl's take on the event, in which he noted to the press that "al davis is all class. (pause). Except without the C, and without the L." That comment NEVER fails to make me laugh.

14. Well hell, it can't be a favorite Chiefs / raiders memories countdown without the best tradition of them all. Up until a couple years ago, when he "retired" from the raiders coaching staff, you could count on one magical moment occuring each year at the players entrance when the raiders' team bus would arrive. And it basically went like this:

(fred biletnikof) (emerges from bus)
(fred biletnikof) (lights cigarette)
("the voice of reason") I HATE YOU FRED!!!

For years, this brought the house down. Here's a reasonable, grown man, screaming at the top of his lungs "I HATE YOU FRED!!!" to a 70 something year old man that looked like death warmed over. But then, fred had to take it to the next level ...

(fred biletnikof) FUCK YOU!!!

Yes, nothing says Chiefs / raiders rivalry week, like Gregg screaming "I hate you!" and a NFL head coach responding with multiple f bombs. I miss fred, I really do. Back to the games ...

13. Chiefs 31, raiders 24, week 17 1998. The final game with Marty Schottenheimer at the helm, and the Chiefs sent him out in style, rallying from a two touchdown deficit to outscore the raiders 21-0 in the second half. This might have been Elvis Grbac's best game as a Chiefs quarterback. Which isn't saying much, but still.

12. Chiefs 23, raiders 17, week 2 2005. A late Priest touchdown gave the Chiefs the lead, and a goalline stand gave the Chiefs the win, in a prime time showdown. This was an epically fun game, featuring blocked punts by both teams, late rallies by both teams, and said goalline stand, when Patrick Surtain literally stripped the ball out of Randy Moss' hands on fourth and goal to preserve the win ... and yet, it isn't even CLOSE to being the best Chiefs / raiders game of the 2005 season. Stay tuned.

11. Chiefs 31, raiders 30, week 16 2004. A Christmas night victory over the raiders will always be a welcome gift from Santa Claus. Or the NFL schedule makers. Morten Anderson won it with a field goal as time expired.

10. Chiefs 17, raiders 10, week 7 2003. If it's possible for a Chiefs / raiders game to be "underrated", this one is criminitely underrated. For starters, this Chiefs fan's wet dream came true*, as dick gannon's career came to a close that night at the hands of John Browning. You then had one of the most incredible final two minutes in this rivalry's history, and God knows there's been some epic final two minutes. The Chiefs had 4th and 1 at midfield. "The Voice of Reason" and I literally spent the entire two minute warning screaming at each other over what to do. (Gregg argued punt, I argued go for it.) The Chiefs punt. The raiders drive. And then, on the final play of the game, raiders QB marques tuaisosopu hits tim brown at the goalline ... and Greg Wesley tackles him at the half inch line. To this day, I have no idea how tim brown didn't score on that play. As Dick Vermeil noted to open the postgame presser, "great finish, huh? (laughs all around)".

(*: late addition! Didn't notice the * until re-re-proofing this, and the addition is this: the FUNNIEST line in movies this year might be from the "Footloose" remake, when this occurs:

(ren) what's wrong with you? She's hot! She wants to dance!
(willard) I ... I can't ... I can't dance. I ... I can't dance!
(ren) (looks at dance floor)
(ren) it's a country line dance! It's a white guy's wet dream!

Brought the theater down. And yes, the "Footloose" remake is that damned good. For me to like a remake better than the original, takes one helluva effort. This movie delivered said "one helluva effort" ...)

9. Chiefs 27, raiders 24, week 11 2003. I remember this game for three reasons. (1) It was so damned cold I literally had no feeling in my extremeties when it was done. (2) The Chiefs won on a last second Morten Anderson field goal. And (3) "Sur" William Callahan's epic postgame presser meltdown, when he drops the "Christ, we are the STUPIDEST team in America!" blast. Let's just say, "Sur" William was fired a few weeks later, off to roo-een Nebraska Football.

8. Chiefs 12, raiders 10, week 7 2007. The last time in the Herm Edwards years when you had a reason to believe in this team. This win capped a 4 out of 5 winning streak that vaulted the Chiefs into first place entering the bye. The Chiefs would not win again for 346 calendar days. The second of three straight wins over oakland that Jarrad Page sealed with a late interception. Oh, and the Chiefs posted 12, because for some moronic, idiotic reason, the Chiefs went for two up 12-3. Herm, buddy, you NEVER should have let Mike White go. NEVER should have let Mike White walk out the door.

7. Chiefs 20, raiders 17, week 15 1986. The Chiefs entered this one with faint playoff hopes. They needed to win out at los angeles and at Pittsburgh, and get some help as well. Which is exactly what happened. This might have been the best game of Bill Kenney's career.

6. raiders 41, Chiefs 38, week 17 1999. Possibly the worst I have ever felt leaving Arrowhead, was after this game. I've already detailed elsewhere why the 1999 Chiefs are the greatest "what if" in franchise history, and it all comes back to this game, this epic choke job by both the Chiefs (who led 17-0 not even five minutes into the contest) and Mike Carey's officiating crew (who gave dick gannon a 5th down, that the raiders tied the game on.) Having said that ... this was one helluva game in hindsight. Neither team could stop the other one's offense. Both teams had potential game winning field goals with less than a minute to play (and both missed). This game holds up remarkably well in hindsight, if you can set aside that whole "we blew a Super Bowl berth" pain aside.

5. Chiefs 27, raiders 23, week 8 2005. Oh my God, what a game. What a game! The Chiefs lead 20-16 with two minutes to play. Kerry Collins calmly drives the raiders down the field, and hits Randy Moss on a beautiful touchdown bomb with 1:12 to play to give the raiders the lead, 23-20. Trent Green, facing a 2nd and long at midfield with barely twenty seconds to play, hits LJ on a simple running back checkdown ... and LJ goes rumbling, stumbling, roaring down the field! He's at the 30! He's at the 20! He's at the 10! The 5! Touch ... godd*mmit! Tackled at the half foot line! Green calls a timeout. Chiefs have 1st and goal at the 1, with four seconds remaining. What to do? Down three, no timeouts, on the half foot line. As Dick Vermeil noted in his postgame comments, "I'm too godd*mned old to kick there." (I miss Dick. No really, I do. I know I never thought much of him as a head coach, and I still don't, but I LOVED his postgame pressers. He was always good for a few well-placed fineable words and phrases. ALWAYS.) The Chiefs come out, and line up in a tight formation. In section 132, this (at the time) hot as hell 28 year old hits his knees. The play call? A simple handoff up the middle to LJ.

I'll never forget the Star's picture the next morning, the view from the end zone on that final touchdown play. The hole that Shields and Roaf and Weigmann blasted for LJ to literally walk through was so large, I could have scored on that play.

If leaving the raiders game in 1999 was the lowest moment imaginable, let me tell you -- leaving the stadium after this game? Was as good as it gets.

4. Chiefs 19, raiders 9, week 17 1994. As simple as it gets -- the winner got in as the six seed and earned a trip to Miami for the wildcard, the loser was out of the postseason. The raiders dominated this game for the first 29 minutes and 30 some odd seconds ... until Jeff Hostetler tossed a perfect pass to a wide open James Hasty*. Just one problem for Hostetler -- Hasty played for the Chiefs. Hasty took it to the house, and the Chiefs running game took over from there, holding the ball for most of the second half in a clinic of ball control. Art Shell was fired after this game, which started the raiders musical chairs game at head coach -- since Art, no raiders coach has lasted more than three years.

(*: yes, I fucked this up. Mark Collins returned that INT for the touchdown. Hasty has his moment two, uuh, "moments" from now. (stevo bashing his head against the desk, again, because he'd NEVER make a ridiculous mistake like this one if it involved those "insert string of obsenities here" "friends" from denver.)

3. Chiefs 10, raiders 6, 1991 wildcard. A thoroughly forgetful football game. Oh wait, not it wasn't. Arrowhead's first ever playoff game, and man, did the crowd will this team to victory. The raiders actually had 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 11 with a little under three minutes to play, down four. Four false starts, one delay of game, and a sack later, the raiders had 3rd and 36, and Todd Marinovich was picked by Deron Cherry to seal the victory. There have been some loud moments in that stadium, but few have ever approached the noise levels on that 3rd and 36, and the jubilant celebration at the ensuing interception.

The top two are obvious to any Chiefs fan, and probably obvious to any raiders fan. The issue is what order do I put them in. Both involved epic Chiefs comebacks. Both had "holy f*cking sh*t!" finishes. Both literally jump-started a 13-3 Chiefs division championship season. Flip a coin ...

2. Chiefs 23, raiders 17, week 3 1995. The first of three "Amen Corner" miracles in 1995. The Chiefs were DEAD with eight minutes to go, trailing 17-3. Then Steve Bono led a long touchdown drive, capped off by a Marcus Allen touchdown plunge. Then the defense held, forcing a raiders punt with a little over a minute to play. Not even 30 seconds later, Bono hit Willie Davis for a long touchdown strike to force overtime.

The raiders win the toss, and immediately move into field goal range. Facing a 2nd and 20 after a bullsh*t holding call, Hostetler drops back to pass, and the most surreal ending imaginable unfolded. The back judge RAN INTO tim brown, knocking him to the ground, and instead of a huge raiders gain, the pass falls into James Hasty's hands, who goes streaking for the end zone. Touchdown Chiefs! If you ever have to ask why the 1995 Chiefs are my favorite team ever, this is a good place to start. Well this, and the fact that this wasn't even the best, most incredible, amazing, satisfying 23-17 overtime victory that season. That occurred three weeks later, when my favorite play of all time happened.

But the winner for "Stevo's Favorite Chiefs / raiders Clash" has to go to ...

1. Chiefs 28, raiders 27, week 2 1997. If you ever have to ask why I have such a huge mancrush on a relatively mediocre commentator named Dan Dierdorf, pop in the last 58 seconds of this game, and listen to Dierdorf not only OPENLY ROOTING for the Chiefs in the booth, listen to the five minutes AFTER the final play that mattered, as Dierdorf and Al Michaels just POUR IT ON the raiders, openly mocking al davis, Joe Bugle, the raiders secondary, the raiders pass rush, and then, the piece de resistance:

(al michaels) there's the President of the Chiefs (as a camera pans on Carl Peterson gloating on the sidelines). (camera then pans to the raiders owner's box) And I guess you could say Andre Rison has just burned al davis' house down. If you know what I mean.
(dan dierdorf) (laughing hysterically) we all do!

As for the game itself, remember just how hopeless this situation looked with 15 minutes and six seconds to play. The Chiefs were 0-1. They had yet to score an offensive touchdown on the season, losing 19-3 at denver, and now trailing the raiders 24-9.

And then, depending on your perspective, Darren Anderson happened ... or Jeff George happened. Either way, that one interception changed the course of the season, as Darren Anderson took it 61 yards to the house, and the Chiefs were right back in the game.

After the defense forced a three and out while trailing 27-22, the Chiefs took over at their own 20 yard line with :58 remaining. In the immortal words of Frank, Al, and Dan:

(al michaels) so the Chiefs have to go 80 yards in 58 seconds.
(frank gifford) with no TO's.
(dan dierdorf) we have seen it before!
(frank gifford, temporarily not in a coma) oh yeah.

You had it all in those last 58 seconds. You had Marty caught cursing out offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. You had Brett Perriman making his only catch as a Chief. The field was so sh*tty that NOBODY, not even the commentators, had a clue where the definition of the sideline was. And then ...

(dan dierdorf) that ... that is the problem with a three man pass rush.
(al michaels) 10 seconds left to play, oakland up by 5.
(dan dierdorf) and we're gonna see a four man rush here.

Yes, yes we did. And because Joe Bugle opted to decrease his number of defensive backs in a Hail Mary situation (ALWAYS a smart idea ... NOT!), Andre Rison had one on one coverage with eddie washington. 33 yards later, touchdown, Chiefs victory. And in south Fort Worth, this (at the time) hot as hell 20 year old not-blogger-yet went ape sh*t crazy. I think I met every person in the complex that night, running around with a couple beer bottles in my hand, screaming like a chicken with its head cut off. (This was also the game that I broke the recliner in. An unfortunate accident involving my hands, a baseball bat, and extreme frustration.) God I miss college.

Here's to hoping Sunday's game is the 28th memorable moment to be added. Preferably in blowout fashion for the Red and Gold ...

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