Greatest Rivalries in NFL History: Raiders vs. Steelers


This rivalry had an accidental birth as the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the original NFL franchises, were sent to the newly formed AFC after the NFL-AFL merger. Long a dormant presence, never having won a single league championship, the Steelers came to life after the merger and built the first dynasty in the Super Bowl era.

Their chief nemesis was Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders, an original AFL franchise whose image was exactly the opposite of Art Rooney’s buttoned-down Steelers. Their new-formed rivalry got off to a roaring start when, on Dec. 23, 1972, in an AFC divisional playoff game, the Steelers stole a 13-7 victory from the Raiders on a play forever known as the Immaculate Reception – Franco Harris snatching a disputed defected pass on fourth down on his way to score the game-winning touchdown. After Oakland got its revenge in 1973, these two teams would meet again the next three seasons, with the winner going on to claim the Super Bowl each time.

The Raiders (this time in Los Angeles) beat the Steelers in the 1983 playoffs en route to their third Super Bowl victory, but both teams would enter a prolonged slump after the mid-’80s. The Raiders have appeared in just one Super Bowl (and lost) since while the Steelers have rebuilt the franchise in the ’00s, adding two more Lombardi Trophies for their NFL-record six.

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