The 1970s, when the Denver Broncos were in the process of becoming a winning team, coincided with my annual trips to the Bay area for a couple of months of active duty in the Coast Guard. In that setting, I was an unapologetic Bronco supporter. I will always remember the cool and classy way Raiders fans treated me back in those days. They loved the "Snake".

The Oakland Raiders were the yardstick against which the Broncos were measuring themselves. Many only know of Al Davis' last years as the Raiders owner. In the '70s, he was a successful maverick, and the guy who engineered the full merger of the AFL and the NFL. He was a worthy opponent as were John Madden and Ken Stabler and the whole Raider organization.

Denver and Oakland mixed it up quite a bit in the '70s. When Denver beat Oakland in the 1977 AFCCG in Mile High Stadium, most of the Raiders showed great sportsmanship and sincerely wished the Broncos good luck in the Super Bowl. I think the Denver-Oakland rivalry really began in earnest during the '70s, and the Snake was guy we had to beat.

Requiescat in pace, Ken Stabler.