The Adelaide Crows joined the AFL in 1991, and the Port Adelaide Power joined in 1997. The South Australian Brewing Company, makers of West End beers, decided that the "Showdown" would be an appropriate name as a promotional opportunity for games between these two clubs, since it was the first time two South Australian teams had played against each other in the AFL. The player adjudged best on ground in each match is awarded the Showdown Medal.
While the AFL draw is not a complete double round robin it is designed each year to include two Showdowns in recognition of its local significance and gate drawing power.
In 2005 Balfours became the new sponsor of the Showdown.
The two clubs have met in a number of preseason fixtures, however these are not official showdowns and do not contribute to the official statistics of the fixture.
Port beat the Crows in the inaugural Showdown in 1997. Having won their first match in the AFL against Geelong the week before, a pumped up Port jumped the Crows in the first half and managed to hold on in the final quarter as the Crows mounted a comeback. The game also featured a fight between Port's Scott Cummings and Adelaide's Rod Jameson.
In the 2005 AFL Finals Series, Adelaide and Port Adelaide met in a semi-final, the first time in their history they had played against each other in a finals game. What was billed as a tight contest turned out to be a fizzer after half time, with Adelaide thrashing Port Adelaide by 83 points. This remains as the only final played between the two sides and the only final the two would ever play at Football Park. 2005 was also the only time one of the clubs had defeated the other side in 3 showdowns in the same AFL season.
As of Showdown XXXV, overall scores sit at 462.427 (3199) for Adelaide and 436.382 (2998) for Port Adelaide.
The highest score in a Showdown is 23.15 (153) by Port Adelaide in Showdown IX. The lowest score is 5.10 (40) by Port Adelaide in Showdown XIX (the 2005 Semi Final)
The highest winning margin for Adelaide is 83 points in Showdown XIX (the 2005 Semi Final), 18.15 (123) to 5.10 (40). The highest winning margin for Port Adelaide is 65 points in Showdown IX, 23.15 (153) to 13.10 (88).
The lowest winning margin for Adelaide is 6 points in Showdown XXIV, 12.13 (85) to 11.13 (79). The lowest winning margin for Port Adelaide is 4 points, in Showdown XXXV, 17.5 (107) to 15.13 (103).
The longest winning streak by Adelaide is 4 (Showdowns XVII - XX). The longest winning streak by Port Adelaide is 7 (Showdowns VIII - XIV).
Adelaide currently kicks with a 52.37% accuracy at goal, and Port 52.69%.
Close games are common: 11 of the 35 matches been decided by less than 10 points and a further 5 matches decided by 16 points or less.