The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL season using Second and Ten football. In reality on November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final moments in a game immortalized as “The Heidi Game” because the national broadcast by NBC left the game at 7:00 PM in order to timely air the premiere of the movie, “Heidi”.
Oakland, Nov. 17 – The New York Jets defeated the defending AFL champion Oakland Raiders, 31-19, in a game whose conclusion was missed by its national television audience as NBC switched its programming from the game to the movie premier of “Heidi”. With the Raiders in possession, down by 5 points with 1:28 remaining, the country was re-directed toward the Swiss Alps.
As the switchboards lit up with anxious football fans, New York’s Earl Christy saved the Jets* as Lamonica dropped back and sought Charlie Smith on a fly pattern down the sideline. Christy intercepted the pass at the Jets 26, and scampered 31 yards to the Oakland 43. From there, New York fullback Matt Snell plowed through a bewildered Raider defense for a touchdown. Two plays spun the momentum around and insured the Jets of a critical west coast victory. Though the defeat of the defending champion served notice to the rest of the AFL, New York will travel down state to face the Western Division leading San Diego Chargers for a potential preview of the championship game.
* – in the actual game, Christy was a goat as his fumbled kickoff opened the door for two quick Oakland touchdowns that the national television audience missed in a 43-32 come-from-behind win.
In other AFL action, the Chargers routed the Bills in Buffalo, 52-30. San Diego quarterback John Hadl threw four touchdowns but also four interceptions in the game. Houston continued its recovery from a miserable start with a 50-30 romp over the Broncos. Pete Beathard threw for 364 yards, the highest total for the week in the AFL, and 4 touchdowns. Kansas City saved themselves with a late touchdown drive in the final minutes of a 27-24 win in Boston. The Dolphins and expansion Bengals tied at 35 when Miami quarterback Bob Griese threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Karl Noonan with 1:08 remaining. Dick Anderson intercepted Sam Wyche’s bomb intended for Bob Trumpy at the Dolphins 4 in the final seconds to preserve the tie.