DENVER, Colo. - Nearly a month ago, the Oakland Raiders looked invincible, sitting on top of the world with an undefeated 4-0 record. Their offense seemingly scored at will, while their defense chewed up anyone, or anything that dared cross the line of scrimmage.
From all indications they were the odds on favorite to walk away with the AFC West, the AFC crown and inevitably the grandest of all, the Lombardi Trophy.
Then came St. Louis, followed by Kansas City, San Diego and San Francisco.
None of them powerhouses in themselves, but collectively enough to turn the juggernaut of Commitment to Excellence into something resembling the final voyage of the Titanic.
Detouring their descent to the bottom will be a brief stopover at Mile High Stadium, where Mike Shanahan and Company stand poised to pull the plug on this once storied franchise.
Does the opportunity to watch his former team circle the drain appeal to Shanahan?
More than we may ever know.
Since being paroled from his position as Raiders head coach, Mike Shanahan has made it his life's goal to defy, destroy and humiliate the Silver and Black, and while the head coach declined to openly admit his distaste for Oakland, the numbers speak for themselves.
Starting in 1995 the Shanahan regime holds a 12-2 mark against the Raiders, including a perfect 7-0 record at home. Winners of 8 of the past 9 matchups, Denver last tasted defeat when a presumably faithful Bill Clinton began his march to the presidency.
For those of you keeping track, that was eight years ago, or as a better perspective, back when Broncos leading rusher Clinton Portis was busy preparing his bus schedule in preparation for high school.
While the luster of Monday Night's matchup has faded slightly during the Raiders recent demise, the animosity is alive and well.
Living comfortably within the heart of a head coach who once prompted John Elway to rifle a pass within inches of Al Davis head during pregame warmups.
Sinking ship or not, the NFL's greatest rivalry is set to lock horns for the eighty-fourth time in league history.
Let the bloodbath begin.
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