Monday night games always throw me off. My lucky Champ Bailey jersey stares at me through the holes in my laundry basket, begging to be worn…or washed, as we both wait impatiently for Monday night. Not only is it a Monday night game, but the Denver Broncos’ first divisional game as they meet the Oakland Raiders for a record 17th time on Monday Night Football at Sports Authority field.
“Monday night versus the Raiders, that’s a huge game for us—a division game,” Cornerback Chris Harris said. “Any time it’s a division game it’s a big game for us. We know we have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Not only because it’s a nationally televised event, but Broncos and Raiders fans alike know the rivalry that dates all the way back to 1960, when both teams were founded. A win against the Raiders Monday would tie the second-longest win streak against divisional opponents in club history.
I heard a joke the other day, about how Raiders games should be broadcast on the History Channel, since their fans are always bringing up the past.
They are tied for the most AFC West divisional champions at 12, but the last time the Raiders won the division was in 2002, where they made a Super Bowl appearance but lost. The Raiders have one more Super Bowl win with three, but their last win was in 1983, and the Broncos have been to the big dance six times to the Raiders’ four.
As far as Monday night football, the Broncos are in the lead with an 8-7-1 record.
“It’s a great history to it, it’s a great tradition. I know the players are excited,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “Whether you’re in your 16th year or your rookie year, it’s an exciting opportunity in the NFL. You’re playing a division opponent at home, it’s the only game being played, it’s still a big deal when other players around the NFL are watching that game.”
Wide Receiver Wes Welker still gets excited for Monday night football too.
“As a kid, that’s what you dream of. No matter how many times you play on Monday night, it never gets old.”