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The AFC West is a division of the National Football League's American Football Conference, formed in 1960 as the American Football League's Western Division. In 1970, it became the AFC West as a result of the AFL-NFL merger. The new NFL was aligned into six divisions (two conferences of three divisions each), with each division being a successor to an earlier division in either the AFL or NFL. The original AFL West had four members - the Dallas Texans (which moved to Kansas City in 1963 as the Chiefs), Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers (which moved to San Diego in 1961) and Oakland Raiders. These four teams have remained in the AFL/AFC West since its inception, and are currently the only teams in the division. When the Raiders played in Los Angelesmarker from 1982 to 1994, they remained in the AFC West.

The Cincinnati Bengals played their first two seasons in the AFL West, moving to the AFC Central (formerly the NFL Century Division, now the AFC North) in 1970.

When the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began play in 1976, the Buccaneers were put into the AFC West and the Seahawks were put into the NFC West. After one year, Seattle was moved into the AFC West and Tampa Bay was moved into the NFC Central. The Seahawks played in the AFC West until the 2002 re-alignment, when they were put back into the NFC West, thus restoring the pre-1976 alignment.

Each of the four AFC West teams won a division title in the first four years of the realignment - Oakland in 2002, Kansas City in 2003, San Diego in 2004 and Denver in 2005. It is the only one of the eight NFL divisions to have all of its teams win titles in the first four seasons of the North-East-West-South format.

ESPN's Chris Berman often calls this division the "AFC Smythe" due to its geographical similarity to the old Smythe Division of the NHL, now known as the Pacific Division. Ironically, the Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies in 1976; both the Kansas City and Denver incarnations of the franchise played in the Smythe. The Rockies moved to East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker in 1982 and became the New Jersey Devils (playing in the Meadowlands Sports Complexmarker, where the NFL's two New York City area teams play).

In recent years, the division is often cited as one of the NFL's "Toughest Divisions" due partially to the home-field advantages of Invesco Fieldmarker, Arrowhead Stadiummarker, Qualcomm Stadiummarker and the Oakland Coliseum marker, although in 2008 the division was the NFL's weakest since the AFC Central in 1985 by sending the San Diego Chargers to the playoffs as division winners with an 8-8 record while the New England Patriots missed out at 11-5 after losing out on tiebreakers for both the AFC East and the wild-card. Although, it should also be noted that the Chargers beat the Patriots 30-10 in their Week 6 match-up.

Division champions



  • !The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs tied for the regular season division title at 12-2-0. The Raiders won the ensuing playoff game to represent the West in the AFL Championship Game.
  • #A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Thus, the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year. Division standings were ignored, the Los Angeles Raiders had the best record of the division teams.


Wild Card qualifiers

Season Team Record Playoff Results
1960 Los Angeles Chargers 10-4-0 Lost AFL Championship Game
1961 San Diego Chargers 12-2-0 Lost AFL Championship Game
1962 Dallas Texans 11-3-0 Won AFL Championship Game
1963 San Diego Chargers 11-3-0 Won AFL Championship Game
1964 San Diego Chargers 8-5-1 Lost AFL Championship Game
1965 San Diego Chargers 9-2-3 Lost AFL Championship Game
1966 Kansas City Chiefs 11-2-1 Lost Super Bowl I
1967 Oakland Raiders 13-1-0 Lost Super Bowl II
1968 Oakland Raiders 12-2-0 Lost AFL Championship Game
1969 Oakland Raiders 12-1-1 Lost AFL Championship Game
1969 Kansas City Chiefs 11-3-0 Won Super Bowl IV
1970 Oakland Raiders 8-4-2 Lost AFC Championship Game
1971 Kansas City Chiefs 10-3-1 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1972 Oakland Raiders 10-3-1 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1973 Oakland Raiders 9-4-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1974 Oakland Raiders 12-2-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1975 Oakland Raiders 11-3-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1976 Oakland Raiders 13-1-0 Won Super Bowl XI
1977 Denver Broncos 12-2-0 Lost Super Bowl XII
1978 Denver Broncos 10-6-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1979 San Diego Chargers 12-4-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1980 San Diego Chargers 11-5-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1981 San Diego Chargers 10-6-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1982# Los Angeles Raiders 8-1-0 Lost AFC Second Round
1983 Los Angeles Raiders 12-4-0 Won Super Bowl XVIII
1984 Denver Broncos 13-3-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1985 Los Angeles Raiders 12-4-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1986 Denver Broncos 11-5-0 Lost Super Bowl XXI
1987 Denver Broncos 10-4-1 Lost Super Bowl XXII
1988 Seattle Seahawks 9-7-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1989 Denver Broncos 11-5-0 Lost Super Bowl XXIV
1990 Los Angeles Raiders 12-4-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1991 Denver Broncos 12-4-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1992 San Diego Chargers 11-5-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1993 Kansas City Chiefs 11-5-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1994 San Diego Chargers 11-5-0 Lost Super Bowl XXIX
1995 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1996 Denver Broncos 13-3-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1997 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
1998 Denver Broncos 14-2-0 Won Super Bowl XXXIII
1999 Seattle Seahawks 9-7-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2000 Oakland Raiders 12-4-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
2001 Oakland Raiders 10-6-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
2002 Oakland Raiders 11-5-0 Lost Super Bowl XXXVII
2003 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
2004 San Diego Chargers 12-4-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2005 Denver Broncos 13-3-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
2006 San Diego Chargers 14-2-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
2007 San Diego Chargers 11-5-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
2008 San Diego Chargers 8-8-0 Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
Season Team Record Playoff Results
1969 Kansas City Chiefs 11-3-0 Won Super Bowl IV
1970 None -- --
1971 None -- --
1972 None -- --
1973 None -- --
1974 None -- --
1975 None -- --
1976 None -- --
1977 Oakland Raiders 11-3-0 Lost AFC Championship Game
1978 None -- --
1979 Denver Broncos 10-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1980 Oakland Raiders 11-5-0 Won Super Bowl XV
1981 None -- --
1982+ San Diego Chargers 6-3-0 Lost AFC Second Round
1983 Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos
9-7-0
9-7-0
Lost AFC Championship Game
Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1984 Seattle Seahawks
Los Angeles Raiders
12-4-0
11-5-0
Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1985 None -- --
1986 Kansas City Chiefs 10-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1987 Seattle Seahawks 9-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1988 None -- --
1989 None -- --
1990 Kansas City Chiefs 11-5-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1991 Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Raiders
10-6-0
9-7-0
Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1992 Kansas City Chiefs 10-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1993 Los Angeles Raiders
Denver Broncos
10-6-0
9-7-0
Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs
Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1994 Kansas City Chiefs 9-7-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1995 San Diego Chargers 9-7-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
1996 None -- --
1997 Denver Broncos 12-4-0 Won Super Bowl XXXII
1998 None -- --
1999 None -- --
2000 Denver Broncos 11-5-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2001 None -- --
2002 None -- --
2003 Denver Broncos 10-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2004 Denver Broncos 10-6-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2005 None -- --
2006 Kansas City Chiefs 9-7-0 Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
2007 None ---
2008 None ---

  • A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Thus, the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year. Division standings were ignored, the Los Angeles Raiders had the best record of the division teams.


Total playoff berths

Team Division Championships Playoff Berths Super Bowl Wins/Appearances
Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders1 15 21 3/5
San Diego Chargers 14 15 0/1
Denver Broncos 10 17 2/6
Kansas City Chiefs 8! 15 1/2
Seattle Seahawks2 2 5 0/13


! Chiefs finished 1968 tied for first with Radiers, but lost ensuing playoff game.

1 Known as the Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 until 1994, before moving back to Oakland.

2 Realigned into the NFC West prior to the 2002 NFL season.

3 Have played in one Super Bowl after realignment to NFC.

4 Realigned into the NFC Central prior to the 1977 NFL season.

References

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2006-11-29-afc-west-power-division_x.htm
  2. http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/Commentary/Columns/2002/nawrocki120302.htm
  3. http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/Features/NFL+Features/2006/question110406.htm



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