An Anniversary All Fans Can Relate To

Earlier this week was the 41st anniversary of the famous ‘Heidi’ game or the ‘Football Game Heard Round the World.’ On November 17, 1968, NBC Sports was televising the New York Jets at Oakland Raiders game when, deep into the fourth quarter, the Jets led the Raiders 32-29. But the Raiders were marching as the game approached 7pm, Eastern Time.NBC had scheduled a production of Disney’s ‘Heidi’ to begin at 7pm. Because the game was clearly going to go past 7pm, communication began between the NBC production truck and their Broadcast Operations Control center in New York. Confusion then reigned supreme and the game was cut off at 7 so the children’s special could air. The Raiders scored and then recovered a fumble in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff to finally win the game 43-32.As awkward and embarrassing as it was for NBC, the televising of pro football then changed forever. Games were no longer listed as 1-4pm or 4-7pm but rather 1 or 4pm to conclusion. Programs that followed were either delayed or joined in progress. In the 50’s and 60’s games seldom went over three hours; for the last 20 years it’s been unusual for an NFL game to be under three hours. Today’s network television contracts translate into an incredible amount of commercial time that means many contests run 3 and a half hours long.Can you imagine today if games were cut off after a three-hour time period? What about overtime games for both colleges as well as the NFL? All fans would be up in arms and ready to protest at the NFL offices on Park Avenue in New York. As confusing as that moment was over 40 years ago, it ensured that fans will see games until the final gun no mater how long the game runs.. For that, fans across America should be grateful.