The Oakland Raiders won the final American Football League championship with a 13-10 come-from-behind win over the defending league champion, New York Jets. The Raiders avenged a 52-31 loss to New York in last season’s championship game.
The Jets struck like a lightning flash with a touchdown in the opening minutes. On the game’s second play from scrimmage, linebacker Ralph Baker wrestled away a Lamonica pass intended for Hewritt Dixon for an interception. On the next play, Jets’ quarterback Joe Namath connected with Don Maynard for a 24 yard touchdown pass. A pair of George Blanda field goals closed the lead to one point with less than two minutes to go in the first half. However, a 47 yard Namath-to-Maynard pass set up a 9 yard Jim Turner field goal in the final seconds of the first half to extend the visitors’ lead to 10-6.
New York had ample opportunities to put the game away, but the Raider defense kept finding ways of forcing turnover after turnover by the Jets. Oakland forced three fumbles, all of which were recovered by the Raiders and halted New York drives. The game-deciding touchdown came after Namath’s only interception of the day. Willie Brown intercepted at mid field and returned the ball to the Jets 14. After a 9 yard completion to Fred Biletnikoff and a holding penalty, Lamonica found Willie Wells in the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown with 11:13 remaining in the game. A pair of penalties cost the Jets on their final two drives. The death knell was a holding penalty on an 4th down conversion by Matt Snell with 2:16 left in the game. The Jets subsequently punted, hoping to stop the Raiders on defense for a final shot at redemption. But, Charlie Smith and Hewritt Dixon were able to run the clock out for the Raiders. Oakland was led by rookie head coach John Madden this season and will represent the AFL in the final “Super Bowl” before the leagues merge next season.