Raiders News: Broncos Coach Downplays Rivalries, But Believes Divisional Games Are Important
Sean Payton, Broncos, Raiders
Sean Payton is in his first season as Denver Broncos head coach.

The rivalry between the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos is one that stretches back decades. With both teams now under new regimes and head coaches, the potential is there for it to re-ignite and it kicks off in Week 1 with the Raiders traveling to Denver to start the season. But new Broncos head coach Sean Payton doesn’t quite view this as a rivalry.

After a year out of the NFL, Payton has returned to take over the Broncos and get them back to the postseason, a task Josh McDaniels is taking on with the Raiders as well. With both teams looking to send a message to open the season, many are looking forward to a very intense game between division rivals, but Payton is downplaying that notion.

Payton, in a recent conference call, spoke on his belief that there aren’t really rivalries anymore in the NFL and that they are primarily in college football while adding that any game against a division opponent is important, via Mike Klis of 9 News:

“We look at them as divisional games,’’ Payton said in a video-less, Zoom conference call Monday morning with reporters. “I think the rivalries are in college football, and then arch rivalries. I was asked that question a lot (when he with New Orleans in the NFC South), relative to Atlanta, New Orleans. I mean, look, divisional games are important. First goal is to find a way to win your division. You play your divisional opponents twice.”

Payton is right in that division games are always extremely important because the first goal of a team is to win the division and with six games against the other teams, they matter a lot. But there are certainly some rivalries that do exist in the NFL.

Ravens-Steelers, Cowboys-Commanders and Bears-Packers are just a couple that come to mind in terms of intense rivalries in the NFL. But Payton insists that the college game is where the rivalries are:

“I can’t speak for rivalries,’’ Payton said. “I just think that exists a little bit more in the collegiate game. I think division games are important, yes.”

Regardless of whether Payton views this as a rivalry, it is still an extremely important game for two teams looking to establish themselves as contenders this season. The Raiders and Broncos both have a lot of talent on the roster and whoever comes out on top will have a leg up on the other in making that postseason push.