The NFL is best when rivals are going head-to-head. You would have to look hard to find a better and more bitter rivalry than the Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs. There is a lot of Chiefs vs. Broncos history to cover, so we have to narrow this down a bit.
Both teams have multiple Super Bowl championships to point back to. Along the way, one has gone through the other, sometimes in dominant fashion. Chiefs vs. Broncos history is littered with epic and critical games that had both fan bases rising and falling with them. Without further ado, let’s get into the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos history.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs Rivalry
When talking about the great rivalries in NFL history, the Chiefs and the Broncos make the shortlist. There have been huge moments in Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos history. Both sides have gone through dominant runs, ripping off several wins in a row.
Whether it be the regular season or playoffs, the Chiefs and Broncos have met plenty of times. In Chiefs vs. Broncos history, Kansas City leads the all-time series 72-56. Now more than ever, the Broncos are hoping to disrupt the most successful period in Kansas City franchise history.
Former #Chiefs pass rusher Frank Clark with some brutal honesty when talking about the “Broncos-Chiefs” rivalry
“I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. A rivalry is competitive”
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) July 29, 2023
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs Results
Because both teams play in the same division, meeting twice per year (at least), we can’t cover every game in the last 10 years. Instead, let’s take a look at one result from each of the last 10 years, which covers a lot of change for both franchises.
Broncos 24, Chiefs 9 (10/29/2023)
Want to hear a crazy stat about Broncos vs. Chiefs history? Since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starter for Kansas City in 2015, he has never lost to the Denver Broncos. That run spanned eight years, unprecedented dominance, especially in a rivalry like this one. Which is why this game is so special.
The Broncos, facing criticism for a tough start, stood no chance in the minds of just about everyone coming into this one. They proceeded to totally shut down Mahomes and the vaunted Chiefs offense like they had not been shut down so far this season.
The Broncos held them to just nine points, shocking the world and winning for the first time since September 17, 2015. It is a monkey off the back, to say the least, and the Broncos have since swung the momentum on their season, the Chiefs win among six in a row as Denver has become the hottest team in the NFL.
The streak is over as the Broncos beat the Chiefs 24-9!
— Mile High Sports (@MileHighSports) October 29, 2023
Chiefs 28, Broncos 24 (1/8/2022)
In the Chiefs vs. Broncos history, things had hit a low point for Denver. The Chiefs had won 12 straight against the Broncos to this point and the pressure was very much being felt. As it turns out, it would be one of the last games in the Drew Lock era for the Broncos.
This also wound up being one of the tightest games in Chiefs vs. Broncos history. Lock wound up getting things done with his legs on that day, rushing for a pair of touchdowns. Going into the third quarter, it looked as though the Broncos would get out of the dog house.
But as Broncos vs. Chiefs history has shown us, things just don’t go well for them in this rivalry. Nick Bolton recovered a fumble and took it 86 yards to the house to put the Chiefs up 28-21 late. Despite a Brandon McManus field goal, the Broncos could not complete the comeback, dropping yet another to Mahomes and the Chiefs.
— BIG ED (@NYCKING) January 9, 2022
Chiefs 22, Broncos 16 (12/6/2020)
Despite all of the weirdness that the COVID-19 season provided, things remained par for the course as it relates to the Chiefs and Broncos. This is an ugly part of Broncos vs. Chiefs history for Denver, right smack in the middle of the longest losing streak for either side in the rivalry.
At halftime, the Broncos held a 10-9 lead thanks to a Drew Lock touchdown pass. Harrison Butker – and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Travis Kelce – would ultimately propel the Chiefs to an ugly but close 22-16 victory inside the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
This was a frustrating one for the Broncos, who held a 16-12 lead until Mahomes found Kelce with 1:06 left in the third quarter. The offense could manage no more, failing to make up the one-score deficit before time ran out. The Broncos and their fans were beginning to show frustration as the Chiefs continued to beat them.
Chiefs 23, Broncos 3 (12/15/2019)
Believe it or not, this is the better of the two matchups from 2019. The Chiefs were one of the best teams in the league that year, largely because of the dynamic duo of Mahomes and speedster wide receiver Tyreek Hill. There was no other offense quite like the Chiefs that year and this game shows that.
Though Harrison Butker was an important part of the win by making a trio of field goals in the second quarter, it was the aforementioned dynamic duo that really did the damage. They connected early in the first quarter on a 41-yard strike to give the Chiefs what would be enough on the day.
Not done, the two connected again, this time from five yards out. The tally would put the Chiefs up 23-3 in the third quarter and the game was basically over. Both offenses didn’t manage to do much of anything down the stretch, though the Chiefs clearly didn’t need to.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 23 (10/1/2018)
Outside of the two cities, the national media really hadn’t picked up on just how successful Mahomes and the Chiefs were against the Broncos. The Chiefs had won the previous five matchups, and the league was only getting a glimpse of just how dominant a passer Mahomes could be.
He showed that he is dangerous both through the air and on the ground. He rushed for a touchdown in the first half while throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown on the day. Kareem Hunt was the real star of the show, rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries for the day.
The bad part is that the Broncos had a 10-point lead just two minutes into the fourth quarter. But Mahomes found Kelce yet again, while Hunt punched one in from four yards out with 1:39 remaining to give the Chiefs their sixth-straight win in this legendary series.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 24 (12/31/2017)
Close games were a hallmark of the early Mahomes years in Kansas City. While he was dynamic facing the rest of the league, he had his struggles against a Broncos defense that saw him more than just about any other team in the NFL.
Though Mahomes threw for 284 yards on the day, he didn’t manage to find the end zone and threw one interception. Statistically, Paxton Lynch – considered one of the worst busts in Broncos history – managed to stay step for step. He threw for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns (though he did throw a pair of interceptions as well).
Lynch led a drive to tie the game with less than three minutes to go, hitting Demaryius Thomas for a six-yard touchdown pass. But in classic Chiefs fashion, they drove down the field and put themselves in a position to win. Butker nailed the game-winner as time expired from 30 yards away, yet again eeking out a close victory against the Broncos.
Chiefs 30, Broncos 27 (11/27/2016)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Chiefs beat the Broncos by a field goal. Though the Broncos had no idea what lay ahead for them in this rivalry’s history, losing a close one to a division rival is always a bitter one. Given that both teams were very similar in record that year, it only worsens the blow.
Things started ugly for the Broncos, giving up a safety and a touchdown return to Tyreek Hill in :12 time. The Broncos would battle back, but Hill gave the Chiefs a 16-10 lead at half with a touchdown run. Denver stormed ahead after a pair of touchdown passes from Trevor Siemian in the third, though KC would tie it with :12 left in regulation.
The two sides traded field goals in overtime, making it a 27-27 game. And as was the case in the game above, Kansas City got the ball last. With just :02 left in the game, Cairo Santos nailed a 34-yard field goal to give the Chiefs the win in overtime.
Broncos 31, Chiefs 24 (9/17/2015)
How about the Broncos on the winning side once again on this list? The Mahomes era had not begun yet (that would be later in the year as he and the Chiefs would get the first of 16 wins in a row against Denver). Instead, we got Peyton Manning vs. Alex Smith in a one-sided battle.
Manning threw for 256 and three touchdowns compared to Smith’s 191 yards and no touchdowns. Even still, the Chiefs held a lead late in the fourth quarter after Knile Davis ran one in from eight yards out. Manning would find Emmanuel Sanders to tie the game at 24-24 with just :36 left before the unthinkable happened.
Bradley Roby recovered a fumble on the next snap, returning it 21 yards to the house for the win. This would be the most memorable moment for Broncos faithful in this rivalry for the better part of the next decade.
Broncos 29, Chiefs 16 (11/30/2014)
Just as the Mahomes era has been good to the Chiefs, the Manning era was good to the Broncos. The Sheriff started off hot, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter. A couple of Connor Barth field goals gave them the 20-7 lead at half.
Both teams would trade field goals and Smith would even hit a touchdown pass. Ultimately, the Chiefs couldn’t get close enough to really close the gap and the Broncos walked away with the 29-16 victory.
Broncos 35, Chiefs 28 (12/1/2013)
The first year in Denver for Manning was electric and this might be the best example of that. Both teams were excellent that year, fighting for first place in the division. Manning would prove to be the difference in this pivotal late matchup.
Manning was outstanding from start to finish. He would throw for 403 yards and five touchdowns on the day, totally overshadowing a solid effort from Smith (293 yards, two touchdowns) in the process. By the time Jamaal Charles ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late.
The Greatest Game in Chiefs vs. Broncos History
The greatest game in Broncos vs. Chiefs history is pivotal for a few reasons. Not only did it culminate in a Broncos victory, but it also led to perhaps the most iconic moment in Broncos history later that year. The two met on January 4 in the divisional playoff round in the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs were good but there was just something about that Broncos team. Despite that, the Chiefs captured the top seed in the AFC and all roads would run through Arrowhead. What it ended up being was a galvanizing trip for the Broncos.
John Elway had an ugly day, going 10-19 for 170 yards but Terrell Davis got it done for the Broncos. The defense shut down the KC attack, limiting them to just 10 points while Davis ripped off 125 yards on the ground and both of Denver’s touchdowns.
This would propel the Broncos onward, where they would capture the first Super Bowl championship in Elway’s storied career. “Win one for John” doesn’t happen without the efforts of Davis and the defense on that day.