It’s Chiefs week. Football is about rivalries, and with the mutually hated Raiders in the doldrums for over a decade, there’s nary a more intense and consistent rivalry in the AFC than Broncos versus Chiefs. I wasn’t alive to see the rivalry in the’60s and ’70s, but it’s been hell of a good rivalry since the Elway era began. Or if you measure in Chiefs terms, the Kenny/DeBerg/Krieg/Montana /Bono/Grbac/Gannon Era. Whether you’re a fan of the Chiefs or the Broncos, you’ve got to love this rivalry if you’re a fan of football. Here’s Predominantly Orange’s look at the 10 best Chiefs/Broncos contests of all time.
10. Shannon Wins it at Arrowhead — 1998 — Broncos 35, Chiefs 31 — With the Broncos looking unstoppable en route to a 14-2 record and a repeat Super Bowl title, the Broncs ran their record to 13-0 against the Chiefs, but not without a fight. The Chiefs jumped to a 21-7 first quarter lead and led 31-21. The Broncos couldn’t be stopped as Shannon Sharpe scored the winner with under 4 minutes to play as Elway passed for 400 yards.
9. The Pre-playoff Showdown — 1992 — Chiefs 42, Broncos 20 — By far the most lopsided of the “greatest games”, the Broncos and Chiefs met on the final week of the 1992 season with the winner going to the playoffs and the loser staying home. Dave Krieg was solid and the Chiefs defense terrorized Elway, scoring three touchdowns. It was the closest thing the rivals would have to a playoff game until later in the decade.
8. Griese Comeback — 2002 — Broncos 37, Chiefs 34 (OT) – Down 34-20 with in the fourth quarter at Arrowhead, Brian Griese did his best Elway impersonation bringing the Broncos back to tie on a Mike Anderson touchdown run with 21 seconds remaining. Elam kicked the game winner in overtime to seal the win.
7. Steve Bono/Hugh Millen Shootout — 1994 – Broncos 20, Chiefs 17 (OT)– With their Hall of Fame QBs on the sidelines, the Chiefs and Broncos slugged out an epic stuggle, with Steve Bono tying the game at 17 with a fourth quarter pass to Bronco killer Willie Davis. The Broncos mustered the last laugh with a Jason Elam field goal.
6. Atwater Kills Okoye — 1990 — Broncos 24, Chiefs 23 — Everyone remembers the hit, well, everyone except Christian Okoye, but he’s undoubtedly seen it on tape. The Nigerian Nightmare comes barrelling through the middle, then changes direction in an instant with a Steve Atwater blow. The Steve DeBerg led Chiefs fall just short against Elway’s Broncos.
5. Dante Hall Returns Hope — 2003 — Chiefs 24, Broncos 23 – The Chiefs were the heavy hitters this time, on their way to a 13-3 season. The upset-minded Broncos had different ideas and Plummer, Portis and the Men in Blue led late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, they punted late in the fourth quarter to Dante Hall who broke ankles for an electrifying game-winning return.
4. Stoyanovich at the Buzzer — 1997 (week 12) — Chiefs 24, Broncos 22 — Bronco fans tend to forget that while the Broncs went on to win the Big One, the Chiefs actually won the division in ’97 on the back of one of the wildest games in the series’ history. Elam kicked the supposed game winner with a minute to play, but Rich Gannon led the Chiefs into position for the game winning kick, a 54-yard bomb as time expired.
3. Reggie Rivers’ blocked punt — 1993 — Broncos 27, Chiefs 21 — This game is one of the most indelible memories of my childhood. The Chiefs were handling the Broncos offense and things weren’t going well. When backup running back Reggie Rivers slipped through to block a punt in the fourth quarter, there was no turning back. The momentum of the entire game changed and the Broncos simply weren’t going to lose.
2. AFC Divisional Playoffs — 1997 — Broncos 14, Chiefs 10 – What could possibly be sweeter than beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead? Doing it in the playoffs. Fresh off a disappointing loss earlier in the season at Arrowhead, the Wild Card Broncos let their defense do most of the damage, as they shut out the Chiefs en route to a 7-0 halftime lead. Terrell Davis ran for 101 yards and capped the scoring with a fourth quarter touchdown. Elvis Grbac never mentally recovered.
1. Montana Comes Back on Elway’s Comeback — 1994 — Chiefs 31, Broncos 28 – As painful as this game was as a Broncos fan, it ranks among the greatest regular season games of all time, with two legendary quarterbacks doing what legendary quarterbacks do. With both teams unable to run the ball, the burden fell on the wide shoulders of Elway and Montana. Elway’s reputation as the comeback gunslinger was all but cemented when he led the Broncos to the lead with a touchdown run with just 1:29 to play. The maestro Montana was up to the challenge, hitting Willie Davis in the front corner of the end zone with just eight seconds remaining. As much as I hated it, it was beautiful.
Did we miss a great game? Drop a comment below!