Coast vs. Coast

History Published on : 10/21/2009

A match-up between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets is not so common today. In fact, a game between the two AFC clubs occurs on average once every two seasons. The Jets and Raiders have only met since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger 19 times in the regular season and twice in the playoffs.

In the days of the American Football League, however, the two clubs met twice a year for nine straight seasons.  This rivalry during the AFL era ended up even as both teams won eight times, had eight losses and tied two of the games before joining the NFL in 1970.

The one matchup that may best be remembered is the 1968 meeting in Oakland. Now known as the “Heidi Game,” what happened on November 17 that year is one of the most infamous moments in sports television history.  With 50 seconds remaining in the game the Jets had a 32-29 lead over the Raiders.  From that point Oakland scored two touchdowns to win 43-32.

The controversy was that this miraculous ending to the game was not seen by television viewers because NBC pulled away from the broadcast.  The network opted to begin the children’s movie, “Heidi,” on time and so it pulled the game off the air. The outcry from that gaffe has resulted in no NFL telecast ending before the game is completed ever since.

RELATED STORY: “Heidi Game” | Box Score

The Jets were given a chance to soften the blow of that bitter loss when the two clubs met in the AFL championship at the end of the season.  The Raiders sported the league’s best record (12-2) while the Jets finished one game behind with an 11-3 mark.

Quarterback Joe Namath, who passed for 266 yards and three touchdowns, led the Jets to victory in front of what was the largest AFL crowd to date (62,627).  The Jets went on to further cement its place in pro football history when New York shocked the sports world with an upset victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

RELATED STORY: AFL championship games

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