Some of you may remember The Heidi Bowl very well, and many others may have never heard of it. If you are one of the others and don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain.
November 17th, 1968 at 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time the Oakland Raiders vs. the New York Jets football game aired on NBC. The game was played in Oakland California; these two teams were fierce rivals, quarter back Joe Namath vs. Oakland’s Dayrle Lamonica
Late in the fourth quarter the game was tied at 29 and with over one minute to play, the Jets kicked a 26 yard field goal to take the lead 32 to 29.
Now the Raiders take the kick and start first and 10 from their own 22 yard line. Lamonica completes a long pass for a touch down but the play is called back for a penalty. Now after a 20 yard completion and a face mask penalty the ball is on the Jets 43 yard line. On the next play Lamonica connects for a 43 yard touchdown pass and the Raiders take the lead 36-32.
With 42 seconds left in the game the Jets still have a chance, but they fumble the kickoff and the Raiders take it in for a touchdown winning the game 43-32, thus scoring two touchdowns in the minute of the game.
You see the only people to see that part of the game after the Jets field goal were the people in the stadium. NBC broke away from the game after the Jets field goal and went to the movie Heidi, which was scheduled to air a 7:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Football fans were furious, as they saw the score flash on the bottom of the television screen and realized what they had missed. Heidi fans were upset because they showed the score during a touching moment of the movie. At this point NBC was in a no win situation.
Because of the high scoring game and excessive injuries and penalties the game ran late and ended at 7:07 pm. When the fourth quarter started at 6:20 pm the NBC executives knew it was not going to end on time. They made a decision to keep the game on but could not reach the station to communicate the change in plans.
At 6:45 pm sports fans began calling the network to see if the game was going to remain on, Heidi fans were also calling to find out if the movie was going to start on time. This overloaded the networks lines and blew fuses causing the lines to go down, thus the NBC executives could not communicate their decision.
The game will forever be known as the Heidi Bowl, and prompted the NFL and the networks to agree upon airing all games in their entirety.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR. SAM MONACO