The AFC West is a division of the National Football League (NFL)’s American Football Conference (AFC), formerly known as the AFL West, currently comprising the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders. The division has sent teams to the Super Bowl sixteen times beginning with Super Bowl I vs. Green Bay. Entering 2016, the Broncos and Raiders lead in Super Bowl wins with 3-5 and 3–1 records, respectively; the Chiefs are 1-1, while the Chargers lost in Super Bowl XXIX, their lone Super Bowl appearance.
The division was formed in 1960 as the American Football League’s Western Division. In 1970, as part of the new NFL’s two-conference, six-division alignment, the AFL West entered the merged league more or less intact as the AFC West.
The original AFL West had four members – the Dallas Texans (who moved to Kansas City in 1963 as the Chiefs), Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers (who moved to San Diego in 1961) and Oakland Raiders. These four teams have remained in the AFL/AFC West since its inception, and are currently the only teams in the division. Largely because of this, and the fact they have played each other twice a year for over half a century, the entire division is considered one very large and very heated rivalry. When the Raiders played in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994, they remained in the AFC West.
The Cincinnati Bengals played the last two AFL seasons in the AFL West despite being further east than Houston, where the Houston Oilers played at the time and were members of the AFC East. The Bengals (along with the Oilers) moved to the AFC Central (formerly the NFL Century, now the AFC North) in 1970, instantly forming rivalries with the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1977, the Seattle Seahawks were added to the AFC West after spending their expansion season in the NFC West; they would move back to the NFC West in 2002. The first-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 played as a member of the AFC West before being aligned into the NFC Central in 1977.
Each of the four AFC West teams won a division title in the first four years of the realignment – Oakland in 2002, Kansas City in 2003, San Diego in 2004 and Denver in 2005. It is the only one of the eight NFL divisions to have all of its teams win titles in the first four seasons of the North-East-West-South format.
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