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Since 1973, the Raiders and Chiefs have played each other 25 times in the regular season in December or January. Only in that 1995 game has the division title been the prize.
The rivalry lived on not only by some notable games between the teams, but through the stories of Bell and others involved. The Chiefs and Raiders over the years have asked former players to speak to the current team before games, and that helps keep the history alive.
“We always have old players come in and talk to us and tell us how violent the games used to be and how physical they used to be,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “That’s really the main thing that sticks out — how violent and physical the games were. They would always talk about that.”
The last time Philip Rivers played in North Carolina was in 2003 — during his final year at NC State.
“It’s just something I’ll never forget. Here he is still talking to his dad about the game, what happened and what he could have done better.’’
He relished talking about anything but a season that has gone awry at 4-8.
San Diego coach Mike McCoy also seemed to relish taking a trip down memory lane of his time at Carolina instead of a 5-7 season marred by about as many close losses as the Panthers have experienced.
Sunday’s game will be a lot about memories for the head coaches.
Rivera was the linebackers coach at San Diego in 2007 and defensive coordinator from 2008 until 2010. He saw firsthand how badly Rivers wants to win, remembering the disappointment after losing the AFC Championship Game following the 2007 season.