The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers are longtime rivals with nearly 60 years of shared division hostility. Even into the latest NFL season, these two teams were playing heated football games. Both are members of the AFC West.
History of Broncos vs. Chargers Rivalry
They both belonged to the AFL Western Conference from the inception of the AFL and now belong to the AFC West following the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970. The Bolts were founded in Los Angeles, but after one season they moved to San Diego where they resided until moving back to LA after the 2016 season. The story of this rivalry, however, has been mostly about the Broncos and their success.
Head to Head Analysis of Broncos vs. Chargers
Overall, these teams have met 119 times, with the Broncos leading the series with a record of 66-52-1. In the 1960s, which were the AFL years, the Chargers were a much better football team and dominated the decade before the Broncos took the reins of the rivalry. Since the NFL was formed, the Broncos have had a winning record every single decade against the Chargers.
Also, the one tie of this series came in their very first matchup as official NFL teams by a score of 17-17. LA’s longest win streak was in that 60s decade when they won 6 in a row from 1963-1966. Denver had their longest win streak from 1975-1978 when they took 7 in a row against the Chargers.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Broncos vs. Chargers
These teams have met once in the playoffs, which resulted in a 24-17 Broncos win in the 2013 AFC Divisional Round. The Chargers do have the only AFL Championship of the rivalry in 1963, but other than that, the Broncos have been a much more successful postseason team. Denver has made 8 Super Bowl appearances, getting their first victory on the fifth try in 1997 and winning 3 total. Los Angeles only appeared in the Super Bowl in 1994, and they did not come away with a championship.
The Chargers did win the AFL Western Division 5 times in just 10 years, but they have only won the AFC West 10 times as opposed to the Broncos who have done it 15 times since they both joined the division in 1970. The Broncos have more AFC Wild Card Berths, too, with 7 versus only 4 for the Chargers. LA did make the postseason this year though, and the Orange Crush did not.
The Bolts had a terrific 2018 season, finishing 12-4 while the Broncos ended the season at 6-10. Los Angeles accomplished this impressive record with the help of young offensive players like RB Melvin Gordon and WR Mike Williams. The Chargers do have a number of defensive players that are young as well, such as S Derwin James, LB Jatavis Brown, and CB’s Demond King and Michael Davis. Denver does not lack a young core either, as they have some offensive potentials in WR Courtland Sutton, RB’s Royce Freeman, and Philip Lindsay.
In recent years, the Broncos have been more known for their defense, and they have brought in some youth to that squad with rookie LB Bradley Chubb, who is hyped to have a great career. I don’t see either of these teams going anywhere, and I expect this rivalry to maintain the level it is at. They both will have to get through the Kansas City Chiefs in the foreseeable future though. My money would be on the Chargers to be the better team in the upcoming decade, but a lot can happen in the National Football League.