Photo: OnlyHDWallpapers.com | Image altered by Brett Gering
Yes, the Denver Broncos currently reign as the AFC West monarchs. Next season, the Chiefs and Raiders will be less concerned with pinning the donkey and more with sending Eeyore cliff diving.
Make no mistake, when the Broncos limp into the Arrowhead and Coliseum locker rooms, blood loss dwarfs love lost.
However, the Denver rivalry blooms a hint of nostalgic respect. With Kansas City and Oakland, trips down memory lane tend to detour into Tornado Alley (cause for optimism: no sharks are involved).
Chiefs fans' disdain for the Raiders can be boiled down to five elements.
The war of words (or by the fourth quarter, slurs) dates back to the AFL. The two rivals have been joined at the hip and filed in the same division since 1960.
Safe to say the feeling-out process had the lifespan of a fruit fly.
While peace, love and happiness Saran wrapped pop culture, the opposite held true when the divisional enemies faced off.
The closest semblances of tie-dye were blood-stained penalty flags, and the warmest gesture came in the form of John Madden sparking Marlboros.
With a 53-48-2 record, the Chiefs own the series' bragging rights, but the Raiders are in the rear-view.
This much is certain: Kansas City and Oakland are obligated to play two games every season, and both fanbases will be on pins and needles in at least one of those contests.
The two-minute warning becomes a NASA countdown to euphoric joy or oppressive agony.
Historically, Kansas City punctuates nail-biters in (more) dramatic fashion.
Exhibit A, B and C:
Snoop Minnis dusts Charles Woodson for the game-winning touchdown reception (2001).
Closing time: James Hasty ends overtime with a pick-six (1995).
Deciding against a game-tying field goal, Dick Vermeil puts all of his eggs in one basket, and Larry Johnson carries it over the goal line (2005).
The victory came days after Trent Green's father passed away.
Other highlights range from Tony Richardson's end-zone grab (2002) to Andre "Bad Moon" Rison's—better known as "Brock Middlebrook" to Wisconsin police—improbable comeback catch under the Monday Night Football lights (1997).
But when the pendulum swings in the other direction, Oakland's last-second efforts often end with a leg up—figuratively and literally.
In the eyes of most fanbases, the visiting Public Enemy No. 1 tends to be surgical quarterbacks, game-breaking running backs or trash-talking linebackers. Kickers need not apply.
That's not the case in Oakland.
Sebastian Janikowski (street name: the "Polish Cannon") is a strong-legged sniper inside of a middle linebacker's body. Without pads, he looks like somebody who kicks honey pots from grizzlies' paws while hiking to Spetsnaz training (GROM, in his case).
Since entering the league, Janikowski has served as the root of Chiefs fans' disgust and for good reason: He has thumped more points against Kansas City (190) than any other opponent, including two recent overtime winners (2010 and 2011—the latter knocked Kansas City from playoff contention).
A gang of players have switched allegiance amid the AFC West feud.
Hall of Famer Marcus Allen became a household name on the West Coast but finalized his athletic endeavors in the Midwest.
In 1994, the Chiefs traded the likes of Albert Lewis and Harvey Williams to the Raiders.
After three seasons with Kansas City, Andre Rison capped off his career with a short stint in Oakland.
More recently, Kevin Boss left the Raiders for the Chiefs (and was subsequently shipped away after the 2012 season).
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Buck Buchanan bled Chiefs red through and through. How was he acquired? For a draft pick from Oakland.
Even (arguably) the most jaw-dropping athlete of all time, Bo Jackson, was hailed as a dual-sport demigod in Oakland and Kansas City.
Residents of both cities view the other as the root of all evil, but those roots are intertwined.
The 'Black Hole' Looks Like the 1991 Royal Rumble
Look, every fanbase has its share of Braveheart extremists who are one misplaced gene away from catapulting a sword onto the 50—Arrowhead's deafening ticket holders are no exception.
Are there any sane, tolerable individuals who support the Raiders? Sure, thousands of them.
However, the amount of delusional ones aren't lacking in the numbers department, and that brand firmly refuses to divorce their box-office alter-egos.
Those hordes view the "Black Hole" in the way that a chihuahua views its bark: to them, it's terrorizing; to others, it's annoying.
Oakland journeyed to the Super Bowl in 2002. Despite the loss, any team should be commended for that effort, and their fans were armed with no shortage of "humblebrags" heading into the subsequent season. [Golf clap.]
The Raiders record since that admirable trip? 49 wins and 111 losses.
Fans have boycotted the stadium, forcing ownership to remove roughly 10,000 seats from the structure tagged "Mount Davis"—the new 53,200 total is now the league's lowest—in order to circumvent the blackout policy.
Jerry McDonald of The Oakland Tribune writes, "The east side structure, built under terms of a deal that brought the Raiders back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995, probably will be covered with a tarp."
The higher-ups have resorted to Mr. Potato Head antics to rectify their attendance issue.
In the aforementioned Oakland Tribune piece, former Raiders CEO Amy Trask claimed, "It certainly makes this entire third deck very, very attractive to families -- especially families with a lot of kids."
Translation: The overdosage of demonic clowns screaming obscenities and foaming at the mouth have designated the third deck as Oakland youth's "safety zone."
Despite the fact they're factoring into the club's downward spiral, the hard-headed loyalists still go to plus-size Halloween depots, swarm themselves with pointed plastic and force-feed fanaticism until it looks like a cataclysm.
Oakland's end zones look like the "after" picture in "If They Melded."
Proof? Let's stick with Conan's theme:
"If They Melded": Sgt. Slaughter, Tonto
A middle-aged man who's baffled as to why his Chronicles of Riddick contacts haven't doubled the traffic to his eHarmony page.
"If They Melded" (Left): Predator, B.A. Baracus
Build-A-Bane's farther away from his 18th birthday than Oakland is from a sell-out, yet still gels a Mohawk that looks like a tribute to a caterpillar that fell into a paper shredder.
Cracked.com's advice: Rocking a Mohawk is unacceptable in three scenarios: court, funerals and leaving a barbershop.
"If They Melded" (Right): Leatherface, Nacho Libre
No, the dog's whimpering isn't due to the genocidal necklace from your "arts and crafts" course. No, the sociopathic mask doesn't raise a red flag for crawlspace investigations.
Yes, it's normal to sob through The 40-Year-Old Virgin's credits.
Now please back away and lay the hedge trimmers down, Melvin.
"If They Melded" (Left): Don Cheadle, Prince
He's obviously aiming for fear factor, but scowling with a perm is like revving a Prius.
Personally, I'd vote for a raincheck on the annual visit to Arrowhead: You're rolling the dice on taking the walk of shame to your car with dozens of boozed-up Kansas Citians echoing, "Game...Blouses."
"If They Melded" (Right): Bob the Builder, Papa Shango
A Rock of Ages extra who would interrupt "If you could only take one album on a deserted island..." with Now That's What I Call Classic Rock and answer "Personal hero?" with Uncle Jesse.
"If They Melded": Roseanne, Therapy Couch
A clever pun ambushed by stretch marks that likely led to the nearby nacho vendor filing for unemployment.
Also, it's unclear as to who inspired the Raiders logo, but the smart money's not on Leno.
Again, painting the "Black Hole" with a broad brush isn't fair. There are legions of Raiders fans anchored in reality—some in Kansas City, even—who don't act like they popped out of the womb during a "Take Five" on the Mad Max set.
The Coliseum's home-away-from-home road warriors (if that's not a wrestling moniker, it should be) relegate them to white noise, though.
Chiefs fans despise them—that's expected. But if you read between Amy Trask's lines, locals are beginning to follow suit.
It's not an Oakland problem; it's a Raiders problem. And it stems from two factors: subpar on-field performance and grown men traumatizing toddlers by dressing like the seventh circle of Dante's Inferno.
Will the Oakland Raiders relocate to Los Angeles within the next five years?
The Golden State Warriors, who reside in Oakland, finished with the fifth-highest average (home) attendance in the NBA last season. Despite the 17-week migraine known as the Chiefs, Arrowhead still managed to rank at No. 16 in terms of per-game attendance. The Raiders? Dead last.
Flashbulbs gravitate toward Oakland's Mutant League Football fans; not the average Joes surrounding them. And the aforementioned Kiss gurus would have you believe that they're diehard football aficionados captaining the Silver and Black bandwagon.
But typically, by the time the post-third-quarter intermission rolls around, the bloodlusting marauders [adds another moniker to the list] file out to their humble abodes, scrub Dial for Men on their smeared mascara and prepare for another hard day of work at the Geek Squad office.
Struggling teams rely on families to meet attendance quotas. Being that the Coliseum is scattered with Guillermo del Toro nightmares, parents would rather save for college funds than therapy bills.
If the Raiders keep nosediving in the same direction, the organization will follow the footsteps of the Warriors and A's—two franchises planning to leave Oakland within the next four years.
In other words, because of head-scratching front office decisions, a decaying coliseum and an atmosphere reminiscent of a "Syfy Original" horror movie, one of Janikowksi's future game-winners will probably prompt an "I Love L.A." recital.
Nobody wants to see that sadness—not even Chiefs fans.
But if the Raiders' 10-year rebuilding process continues to renew its lease, and the stands continue to be littered with "low T" trick-or-treaters, the only headline-worthy "Black Hole" will come after hail shreds "Mount Davis'" tarp.
Brett's Twitter: Follow @BrettGering
Brett's Email: email@example.com