Sunday, December 12, 2021

Heidi Bowl Football Game

 

Heidi Bowl Football Game
The Heidi Bowl Football Game Reviewed
Photo Credit Getty Images

Some of you may remember The Heidi Bowl very well, and many others may have never heard of it or are just too young to know. 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, quarterback Joe Namath vs. Oakland’s Daryl Lamonica.

 

We followed Joe Namath as he played high school football only 15 miles from where I grew up. I remember this game very well, as I was watching this game with my father and uncles.

 

The NBC executives had originally ordered the television movie Heidi to air at 7:00 PM.

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 decided to keep the game on until the end. They began to call the network technicians to communicate their decision but could not get through.

 

As the time got closer to 7:00 pm. sports fans began calling the network to see if the game was going to remain on.

 

This overloaded the network's lines causing the lines to go down, thus the NBC executives could not communicate their decision. So, at 7:00 pm the game was cut off on the East Coast for the movie Heidi.

 

This caused viewers and sports fans on the East Coast to miss one of the most dramatic endings in football history. The Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the game to win 43 to 32. I can still remember when they flashed the final score at the bottom of the screen during Heidi. My dad and uncles were furious.

 

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. Now you know why your regular programs are delayed on Sunday if a game runs over.


The Jets and Raiders met again in December with the Jets winning 27-23 to win the American Football League Championship. Two weeks later the New York Jets defeated the highly favored Baltimore Colts of the Nation Football League in Super Bowl III.


I hope you enjoyed this bit of sports history. 


This was the year that the New York Jets made football history


Beyond Broadway Joe: The Super Bowl TEAM That Changed FootballBeyond Broadway Joe: The Super Bowl TEAM That Changed FootballBeyond Broadway Joe: The Super Bowl TEAM That Changed Football

 




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8 comments:

  1. Sam, I remember the 'Heidi' Bowl well. My hubby was in broadcasting, so the story quickly made the rounds. By the 1980s, Bob was a Program Director in TV and he had sheets of instructions for the technicians in the control room on weekends of what to do in any live sports situation. He was called in to the station many times to find alternate programing for rain delays in baseball, and there was always a conflict in September with football starting and baseball live broadcasts still going. But Television broadcasting of live games, especially with close scores near the end, are definitely never interrupted ever since the Heidi movie! LOL. The uproar from angry fans over that game will long be remembered. :) A fun memory to read about today.

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  2. I was a teenager in ‘68 and we never watched football at home when I was growing up. So, even though I lived in New York City (Namath country), I was unaware of the “Heidi Bowl” brouhaha. Thanks for the explanation of why regularly scheduled network programming is pushed back until the end of every game!

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  3. Oh wow! I can certainly understand why sports fans would be furious when the final minutes of the game were superseded by the scheduled programing. How sad for "Heidi" though. No doubt, that movie would forever be hated by football fans. This is truly a very interesting tidbit of sports history. Sure glad that will never happen again.

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  4. Very interesting!! Now I know why My Sunday night shows are always late. I hadn’t heard about it but my husband knew exactly what it was. He said he was watching the game.

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  5. What a fun bit of sports trivia. Clearly, not so fun for the folks watching the game at the time. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. An interesting sports fact! I had never heard of the "Heidi Bowl Football game", it must have been very frustrating for the sports fans watching the game.

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  7. Not being a football fan, I did not know this! I can just imagine though if it had been a hockey game that was cut short. I think my other half would have a mild heart attack to miss out on the last few minutes of a "critical game". Great trivia for sure. Thanks Sam!

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  8. It's been awhile - thanks for the memories! I had forgotten about the Heidi bowl, truly one for the archives of broadcasting.

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