To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s OAKLAND RAIDERS-NEW YORK JETS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest is a nod to an earlier meeting that forever changed the way football is consumed.
On November 17, 1968, Heidi unexpectedly became part of sports vernacular when East Coast viewers suddenly lost the NBC broadcast of Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE NAMATH’s Jets trying to hold off a Raiders fourth-quarter comeback.
While a large portion of the national audience saw the opening scenes of a made-for-TV movie featuring an orphan girl living with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, Raiders quarterback DARYLE LAMONICA was throwing a 43-yard, go-ahead touchdown to CHARLIE SMITH with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, with the Jets down 36-32 and Heidi’s melodious tones airing in most American living rooms, Oakland’s BILL BUDNESS forced a fumble and teammate PRESTON RIDLEHUBER returned it for a touchdown to seal the game. While NBC made a valiant last-second effort to avoid cutting away from the AFL game, several affiliates aired the musical during the Raiders’ comeback. Six weeks later, the Jets got revenge, turning away Oakland at New York’s Shea Stadium in the AFL Championship Game, giving Namath an opportunity to guarantee victory at Super Bowl III.