The AFC West, or The American Football Conference – Western Division, is one of four American Football Conference (AFC) divisions in the National Football League (NFL). This competitive division features the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.
The AFC West was established in 1960 as the American Football League’s Western Division. When the American Football League (AFL) merged with the NFL, the AFL became the AFC West in 1970.
Since these teams have been playing each other twice a year for sixty years, the entire division has well-established rivalries among all of the teams.
The AFC West has sent 18 teams to the Super Bowl. The Broncos and Raiders are tied within the division for the most Super Bowl titles with three.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the winningest AFC team with seven consecutive AFC titles for the past seven years. That win streak is the second-longest in NFL history – the New England Patriots won 10 AFC East titles in a row.
The last win in 2022-23, highlighted by a win over the Houston Texans, moved the Chiefs into a four-way tie with all of the other AFC teams for most AFC West titles with 15.
List of AFC West Teams
There are four teams in the AFC West.
1.) Denver Broncos,
2.) Kansas City Chiefs,
3.) Las Vegas Raiders, and
4.) Los Angeles Chargers.
Former AFC West Teams
The Cincinnati Bengals played two seasons in the AFL Western Division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played a single season when their franchise entered the league in 1976. The team that played the longest in the AFC West but no longer did is the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks played 25 seasons in the AFC West from 1977 to the 2002 NFL Division realignment.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the AFC West.
Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.
Believe it or not, all four teams in the division are tied for first. The Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, and Chargers have won 15 division titles since the end of the 2022 regular season.
The Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos are tied with three Super Bowl wins. The Chargers have yet to win a Super Bowl. The Chief won the last Super Bowl for the AFC West in the 2022/2023 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs have the best AFC West all-time won-loss record with 535 wins and 436 losses (up to the conclusion of the 2022-23 regular season). The Broncos have won 505 games, the Raiders 503 games, and the Chargers 488 games.
AFC West Teams: Snapshot, Overview, and Fun Facts
Let’s take a closer look at each of the franchises in the AFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs
It might take another Super Bowl or two to call this current rendition of the Chiefs a dynasty, but this team may be as close as it comes in today’s NFL. With the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs are likely looking to add wide receivers and offensive line depth at the draft. By the way, this year’s draft location is in Kansas City. The city is expecting 300,000 fans to enjoy the festivities.
Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium
Seating Capacity: 76,416
Head Coach: Andy Reid
Owners: Hunt family
All-time Won/Loss Record (up to 2022-23 reg season conclusion): 535 wins and 436 losses.
Year Established: 1960
Mascot: KC Wolf
Super Bowl Wins: Three — 1969, 2019, and 2022 teams
Biggest Rival: The Raiders
The Face of the Franchise: Patrick Mahomes
The Chiefs have been the dominant team in the AFC West due mainly to coach Andy Reid who joined the squad in 2013, and Patrick Mahomes, who made his first NFL start on December 31, 2017. Reid’s innovative play-calling and coaching skills have led the Chiefs to many victories.
Some already regard Mahomes as the best quarterback ever to play. His combination of a strong throwing arm, accuracy, intelligence, and creativity are second to none. With Mahomes just entering his prime, the Chiefs look primed to continue their long winning streak led by their potent offense. The Chief’s success is a testament to the Reid-Mahomes partnership.
Kansas City Chiefs Fun Facts
1.) Guinness World Records recognized Arrowhead Stadium as the loudest outdoor stadium in the world.
2.) Notable Chief Pro Football Hall of Famers include Lamar Hunt (founder and owner), Bobby Bell (LB), Buck Buchanan (DT), Len Dawson (QB), Jan Stenerud (K), Hank Stram (C), Willie Lanier (LB), Emmit Thomas (CB), Tony Gonzalez (TE), and Johnny Robinson (S).
3.) Eating KC BBQ while tailgating at Arrowhead is one of the top NFL experiences you’ll find. Don’t miss out if you ever have the opportunity.
4.) Chief’s founder Lamar Hunt came up with the name “Super Bowl.” His daughter had been playing with a Super Ball, and the name stuck in Lamar’s head. When it came time to come up with a catchy name for the big game, Hunt offered up “Super Bowl.”
5.) The Chiefs played in the first Super Bowl, losing to the Green Bay Packers. The Pack beat them at the Coliseum by a score of 35 – 10.
6.) The Chiefs’ seventh-consecutive division title ties the 1973-79 Los Angeles Rams for the second-longest streak of division titles in the history of the NFL.
You might also like our profile of the NFC West teams: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals.
A new ownership team stumbled on their first moves, but let’s give them a couple of seasons before evaluating.
Stadium: Empower Field at Mile High
Seating Capacity: 76,125
Head Coach: Jerry Rosburg
Owners: The Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group
All-time Won/Loss Record (up to the 2022-23 reg season conclusion): 505 wins and 468 losses.
Year Established: 1960
Mascot: Thunder, an Arabian gelding
Super Bowl Wins: Three — 1998, 1999, and 2016.
Biggest Rival: Raiders
The Face of the Franchise: John Elway
After making the big trade to the Seattle Seahawks for Russell Wilson, the Broncos entered the 2022-23 season with high hopes. Those hopes came crashing down early, and the Broncos finished a disappointing 5 & 12.
Denver Broncos Fun Facts
1.) Every serious Broncos fan knows about “The Drive.” In the 1986 Championship Game, quarterback John Elway led the offense on a 98-yard drive to score a tieing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Clutch! The Broncos went on to win by a field goal in overtime.
2.) The Broncos stadium – Empower Field at Mile High – is nicknamed Mile High because the city’s elevation is 5,280 feet above sea level or one mile. As a result of playing football at this altitude, kick-offs go about 10% farther than if playing at other NFL stadiums.
3.) Robin Williams was the first male Denver Broncos cheerleader. It was a one-time performance for the TV show Mork & Mindy.
4.) The roster of Bronco Pro Football Hall of Famers includes John Elway (QB), Floyd Little (RB), Shannon Sharpe (TE), Gary Zimmerman (OL), Terrell Davis (RB), Champ Bailey (DB), Steve Atwater (S), and Pat Bowlen (Owner).
5.) By what soft drink name was the Denver Broncos defense called in 1976? The Orange Crush. Popularized by sportswriter Woody Paige, it reflected the team’s jersey color and the popular soft drink.
Las Vegas Raiders
The black sheep of the NFL hasn’t had a good stretch for a long time. Will Vegas finally give them the jackpot they’re looking for? Head coach Josh McDaniels is hoping to bring some Patriot success to Sin City.
Stadium: Allegiant Stadium
Seating Capacity: 71,835
Head Coach: Josh McDaniels
Owner: Mark M. Davis
All-time Won/Loss Record (up to 2022-23 reg season conclusion): 503 wins and 469 losses.
Year Established: 1960
Mascot: Raider Rusher
Super Bowl Wins: Three — 1977, 1981, and 1984
Biggest Rival: Kansas City Chiefs
The Face of the Franchise: Davante Adams or Mark Davis.
The Raiders entered the 2022-23 season, signing star Davante Adams as a wide receiver and adding Chandler Jones to the defense. But like the Broncos, the Raiders had a lousy year finishing 6 & 11. Derek Carr was asked to sit the last two games leaving his future with the team in serious doubt.
Raiders Fun Facts
1.) The three other teams in the AFC West consider the Raiders their number-one rival matchup.
2.) “Just win, baby” was Raiders founder and owner Al Davis’s mantra for his team. Davis is also noted for hiring the first African American head coach, Art Shell.
3.) The face of the Raiders logo is the likeness of actor Randolph Scott, with a patch over his right eye.
4.) Notable Raider Pro Football Hall of Famers include Ray Guy, Kenny Stabler, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Al Davis, Howie Long, Dave Casper, Marcus Allen, Ron Woodson, Charles Woodson, Cliff Branch, and Tim Brown.
5.) The Raiders are part of the fabric of the NFL, with no shortage of memorable plays. They came up on the losing end of the “Immaculate Reception” against the Steelers and the “Tuck Rule” against the Patriots. But, the “Holy Roller” went their way.
Los Angeles Chargers
A heartbreaking wild card loss shouldn’t dampen Bolts fans’ love of the game.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Seating Capacity: 70,240
Head Coach: Brandon Staley
Owners: The Spanos family
All-time Won/Loss Record (up to 2022-23 reg season conclusion): 488 wins and 484 losses.
Year Established: 1960
Mascot: No official mascot
Super Bowl Wins: 0.
Biggest Rival: Raiders.
The Face of the Franchise: Justin Herbert
LA Chargers Overview
After leading the Jacksonville Jaguars by 27 points, the Chargers fell30-31inthe 2023 Wildcard game. Despite that turn of events, the Chargers have a solid foundation and are led by their star QB, Justin Herbert. A resurging defense is led by Khalil Mack.
Los Angeles Chargers Fun Facts
1.) The Chargers have only appeared in one Super Bowl, losing to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 49 – 26. That one was over at halftime.
2.) Hall of Fame Chargers receiver Lance Alworth was nicknamed “Bambi” because he could run like a deer and had a baby face, according to one of Alworth’s teammates.
3.) Notable Chargers Pro Football Hall of Famers include Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Deacon Jones, Fred Dean, John Mackey, Junior Seau, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Alworth, Sid Gillman, and Ron Mix.
4.) Chargers coach Sid Gillman is credited with the film-watching techniques that modern coaches employ, the current passing game, and putting players’ names on the backs of jerseys.
5.) “The Bolts” is one of the team’s nicknames.
AFC West Final Thoughts
With Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in leadership roles on AFC West rosters, the division is in good shape for strong quarterback play, successful on-field performance, and primetime TV appearances.
The competitiveness and parity of this division are best expressed in one stat — all four teams are tied with 15 division titles. Amazing!
By Mike O’Halloran
Mike is the founder and editor of Sports Feel Good Stories. He was a contributing writer for USA Football, the youth arm of the NFL.
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