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Backstory - Broadcasting & Cable

Backstory

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The Oakland Raiders'victory over the New York Jets on Nov. 17, 1968, included one of the most spectacular fourth quarters in AFL history: Within the last nine seconds, the Raiders scored two touchdowns to beat the Jets 43-32. But on the East Coast, including New York, viewers didn't see that.

NBC cut out of the game with a minute left, at 7 p.m. EST, so it could broadcast a special, the children's classic,
Heidi,

at its scheduled time.

Football fans went crazy; as it turned out, they may have contributed to the problem. B ROADCASTING magazine reported that an NBC spokesman said that the only employee authorized to keep the game on the air couldn't get through to broadcast control in New York, because the switchboard was jammed with calls about whether the network would finish the broadcast.

After "The
Heidi

Incident," the networks adopted a policy of broadcasting all football games to the end. And, more humorously, NBC took out print ads in which critics' praise of
Heidi

was cited along with a comment from Jets'quarterback Joe Namath: "I didn't get a chance to see it, but I heard it was great."

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