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Inter Conference NFL Rivalries: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

April 4, 2023
Seahawks vs broncos rivalry

It is a 20-hour drive between the cities of Denver and Seattle yet the Broncos and the Seahawks have had a rivalry since 1977. Though there is no tangible proximity between the two teams, when both are playing well they are likely to feature in the latter stages of the Super Bowl. While the Denver Broncos will compete in the American Football Conference, the Seattle Seahawks play in the National Football Conferences, opposite conferences in the Western divisions of the NFL. If you want to stake some bets on how far you believe both teams will go next season, look at our NFL spreads.


Inter Conference Rivalry

As they represent different conferences, if one team underperforms during the regular season then there is a chance that the teams will fail to meet. This was not always the case as the teams played each other twice every season between 1978 and 2002. Then the Seattle Seahawks moved divisions, from AFC West to the West division of the NFC. 

The rivalry was bubbling away nicely until then, most notably in 1983. In the AFC Wild Card Game that year, the Seahawks had their very first post-season appearance and met the Denver Broncos. On Christmas Eve, the two teams met at the Kingdome with the Seahawks coming through 31-7. 


Feuds And Hits

What has fueled the rivalry between the Broncos and the Seahawks has not come from their matchups but rather the actions of a few players. One is Brian Bosworth, a linebacker of some notoriety for mouthing off who was picked by the Seahawks in 1987’s NFL Draft. The Seahawks were due to play the Broncos in Week one and Bosworth spent the build-up trash-talking his opponents and centered on the quarterback, John Elway. Of course, the Broncos won and Bosworth claimed that anti-Boz merchandise was actually produced by his own company yet Elway had the last laugh when Bosworth was waived by the Seahawks only three years later. 

Another Week one incident occurred between the two teams in the early stages of the 1988 season. Steve Largent would go on to feature in the NFL Hall of Fame yet against the Broncos he was knocked out by their safety, Mike Harden. The impact was shuddering as Largent lost two teeth and was concussed by the forearm smash which went without a penalty being called. Eventually, Harden was fined $5k by the NFL and Largent would go on to get his revenge. 

The rematch was scheduled for Week 15 and Largent saw his opportunity. Once Harden had intercepted quarterback Dave Krieg, Largent followed. As play was followed to the opposite corner to the endzone, Largent executed a massive blindside hit on his opponent as they returned. The ball was knocked out but Harden was not as Largent recovered the ball and the original interception by Harden was called out by a defensive holding penalty.  


In The Super Bowl

There have only been two occasions when the Denver Broncos have met the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL playoffs. The most recent encounter was in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 when the Seahawks crushed the Broncos 43-8 in New Jersey. This was a surprise, not only because the Seahawks won but by such a margin. The Broncos went into the game with, statistically, the best offense that season and of all time while the Seahawks were the tightest defense that season.

Granted, this was a huge upset yet it did rekindle a rivalry between two once-AFC West adversaries. That the rivalry had been left to go dormant for a decade was also a factor as the teams had only faced each other three times following the Seahawks’ move to NFC West in 2002. A lot of what had come before, whether pre-game or built up over a decade, went out of the window within a few seconds. Twelve in fact as the Seahawks notched up the quickest score in the Super Bowl’s history with a safety following an erroneous snap to Peyton Manning. 

Their victory was the largest for an underdog and a points differential of 35 was the third largest in the history of the Super Bowl. It was also the first time that the winning team had held their opponents to single figures while scoring over 40 points. Such margins do not occur very often yet if you can see it happening then look at our NFL lines. Overall, it is a different picture as the Broncos lead the series 35-22. 



It may seem strange that the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks have a rivalry until you realize that both teams played in the same division. By the 1980s, the rivalry stepped up as the matchups were tightly contested with the Broncos edging it 11-10 on season-by-season results. However, the rivalry would intensify through controversial incidents such as Brian Bosworth’s trash-talking and Largent v Harden when it largely became personal. The next time the two teams meet, you can bet that the Denver Broncos will be out for revenge following their 43-8 drubbing in Super Bowl XLVIII at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. 


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