1968: NBC Cuts Away from Jets-Raiders Nailbiter for ‘Heidi’

On this day in 1968, AFL rivals the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders were locked in a back-and-forth battle for dominance when, with just over a minute to play, NBC cut away from the game to broadcast the previously-scheduled film, Heidi, in the Eastern time zone.

At the time the network switched to the film, the Jets were leading, 32-29. In the final minute of the game, the Raiders scored two touchdowns in nine seconds, and won the game 43-32.

Prior to the game, network execs had issued orders that the movie begin promptly at 7 p.m. ET. Minds were changed, however, thanks to the nailbiter taking place at the Oakland Coliseum. Unfortunately, when execs attempted to contact the broadcast center, they were unable to get through the NBC switchboards, which were jammed with callers calling, and complaining, about Heidi.

From that point on, all televised NFL football games have been shown in their entirety, taking precedence over subsequent programming.

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