Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

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Read Time: 3 minutes

The Chargers vs. Raiders history has dated back to the days of the American Football League. Since 1960, the Chargers and Raiders have shared a common division, first in the AFL, and then the AFC West in the modern day National Football League. The two franchises have met 124 total times, but just once in the playoffs at the end of the 1981 season. There is more to this rivalry than just a common division.

Chargers vs. Raiders All-Time Record

This is truly a rivalry in the NFL that has gone back and forth over the years. The Raiders hold the advantage in the all-time series with a mark of 67-56-2, and they won the only playoff game between the two teams in 1980-1981. The Raiders have five Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1976, 1980, and 1983, while the Chargers lost their only appearance in 1994.

The 1960’s saw the Chargers jump out to a huge advantage over the fledgling Las Vegas franchise, winning the first six games in the series before Las Vegas started to catch up. By the end of the decade, the Chargers still held an 11-9 lead over Las Vegas, but it was clear that the gap was getting smaller.

The 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s were three decades of complete domination by Las Vegas, as they went 40-19-2 over the Chargers. In this period, the Raiders won the division nine times compared to just five for the Chargers.

Chargers vs. Raiders Stats

Al Davis was hired by Los Angeles head coach Sid Gillman to be an assistant coach for the Chargers in 1959, but then in 1963, Davis jumped the ship to become the head coach and general manager for Oakland. Many Chargers fans saw this as a traitorous move by Al Davis and never forgave him for it. Oakland had always been the “little brother” to Los Angeles, but upon Davis’ arrival in Oakland, the Raiders began to challenge the Chargers’ supremacy out west.

In 1978, the rivalry reached a new high after the play deemed “The Immaculate Deception” by Charger fans and “The Holy Roller” by Raider fans. The refereeing blunder that ruled a clear incomplete pass a fumble, led to the Raiders beating the Chargers by one. Every Charger fan considered this cheating, and the play caused an NFL rule change.

In 1980, the then San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders both ended the regular season with a record of 11-5. The two franchises met in the AFC Championship round, where the Raiders bested the Chargers 34-27 and went on to win the Super Bowl that year. This game left a sour taste in Charger fans’ mouths after getting so close to the Super Bowl only to be spurned by their divisional and regional rival.

In the 1990’s, and up to present day, there has been an aura of lawlessness surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders. Many attribute this to the “wild west” nature of Al Davis, while others just use this term in comparison to the more docile Chargers franchise. A local bail bonds company in San Diego aired a commercial on local television depicting San Diego residences locking up their homes and establishments while stating “The Raider Fans Are Here.”

A Glance at Postseason Success in Chargers vs. Raiders

The turn of the millennium dawned a new era in the rivalry as the then San Diego Chargers began to exert their dominance over the fading Raiders. In the 2000’s, the Chargers finished the decade with a 14-6 record against their rival, including a historical winning streak of thirteen games from 2003-2009. Oakland’s last divisional championship came in 2002, while the Chargers won the division five times after that.

The 2010’s have seen an interesting trend develop in the head-to-head matchups between these two. Las Vegas started the decade with a three game winning streak, followed by one of their own by the Chargers. Las Vegas got a lone win in 2013 before the Chargers had another three game streak. Then the Raiders won four in a row in 2015 and 2016 before the Chargers won four in a row.

Chargers vs. Raiders Picks

Both franchises have a challenge in the division after the emergence of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Chargers are right there ready to compete with Kansas City, due to the arrival of quarterback Justin Herbert. Las Vegas made the playoffs last season, edging out their rival in the tiebreaker. The future is bright for both franchises, and quarterback play will determine how far each team goes in the division.

The edge in the rivalry looks like it should go to the Chargers. However, after last season, the Raiders have emerged as a contender, and many have picked them to top the Chargers in the division. According to our trusted sportsbooks, Los Angeles is the heavier favorite to finish second in the division behind Kansas City this season.