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Saturday, November 17, 2012
Yearbook, Nov. 17: The 'Heidi Game'

By Patrick Dorsey

Nov. 17, 1968: Back in the early times of pro football television, this day 44 years ago brought about one of the more infamous moments in televised -- or, perhaps, we should say -- untelevised NFL/AFL history.

The situation: With less than a minute to go in the NBC-broadcast American Football League game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, Oakland -- trailing 32-29 -- was driving. Except ... nobody got to see the result of that drive, as the network cut away from the game and to the 7 p.m. Eastern Time start of its new made-for-TV version of the Johanna Spyri novel "Heidi."

What happened on the field: Oakland scored two touchdowns in the last 42 seconds, winning 43-32. What happened after: Fury from fans, followed by a change in broadcast procedure -- all of it well-documented in this Los Angeles Times piece from 2008.

Joe Namath, during the 1968 game between the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders -- the Heidi Game
Instead of seeing Joe Namath's Jets try to hold off the Oakland Raiders, fans saw ...
Heidi
... a 1968 TV movie version of the Swiss novel "Heidi."