n American football, the Heidi Game refers to a famous American Football League (AFL) game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders, played on November 17, 1968 in Oakland, California. The fame of this game is the result of a decision by the NBC television network to terminate their broadcast with 65 seconds left to play in the game and instead broadcast a pre-scheduled airing of Heidi, a new made-for-TV version of the classic children’s story.
With the Jets leading 32-29 with only 65 seconds left in the game, NBC programmers concluded that the outcome of the football game was decided. And while only 65 seconds remained on the game clock, in American football—with timeouts and other clock-stopping strategies—a minute can easily last ten or fifteen real-time minutes. Eager to maintain their evening schedule, the network switched off the ostensibly-decided game.
However, the Raiders came back and scored 14 points, winning 32-43. But millions of American football fans were unable to see Oakland’s comeback. The complaints to the network switchboard signaled a new height of popularity for the game in the United States.
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