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1968 New York Jets season: Map


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The 1968 New York Jets season was the ninth season for the team in the American Football League (AFL). The team had the most successful season in franchise history. Trying to improve upon their 8-5-1 record in 1967, they won the AFL Eastern Division with an 11-3 record. They defeated the Oakland Raiders in the AFL Championship game, and earned the right to play in Super Bowl III against the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. In a stunning upset, marked by quarterback Joe Namath's famous "guarantee" of victory, the Jets defeated the heavily favored Colts 16-7.


On May 21, Sonny Werblin sold his shares in the Jets to his partners Don Lillis, Leon Hess, Townsend Martin and Phil Isselin. Lillis became the President on May 21 but died on July 23. Isselin was appointed President on August 6.

AFL Draft

Regular Season


Eastern Division
*New York Jets 11 3 0 .786 419 280
Houston Oilers 7 7 0 .500 303 248
Miami Dolphins 5 8 1 .385 276 355
Boston Patriots 4 10 0 .286 229 406
Buffalo Bills 1 12 1 .077 199 367

Regular season schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Game site
1 1968-09-15 Kansas City Chiefs W 20-19 Municipal Stadiummarker
2 1968-09-22 Boston Patriots W 47-31 Legion Fieldmarker
3 1968-09-29 Buffalo Bills L 37-35 War Memorial Stadiummarker
4 1968-10-05 San Diego Chargers W 23-20 Shea Stadiummarker
5 1968-10-13 Denver Broncos L 21-13 Shea Stadiummarker
6 1968-10-20 Houston Oilers W 20-14 The Astrodomemarker
7 1968-10-27 Boston Patriots W 48-14 Shea Stadiummarker
8 1968-11-03 Buffalo Bills W 25-21 Shea Stadiummarker
9 1968-11-10 Houston Oilers W 26-7 Shea Stadiummarker
10 1968-11-17 Oakland Raiders L 43-32 Oakland-Alameda Coliseummarker
11 1968-11-24 San Diego Chargers W 37-15 San Diego Stadiummarker
12 1968-12-01 Miami Dolphins W 35-17 Shea Stadiummarker
13 1968-12-08 Cincinnati Bengals W 27-14 Shea Stadiummarker
14 1968-12-15 Miami Dolphins W 31-7 Miami Orange Bowlmarker


New York Jets roster
  • Tommy Burnett (19)
  • Joe Namath (12)
  • Babe Parilli (15)

Running Backs
  • Emerson Boozer (32)
  • Bill Mathis (31)
  • Matt Snell (41)

Wide Receivers
  • Don Maynard (13)
  • George Sauer, Jr. (83)

Tight Ends
Offensive Linemen
  • Dave Herman (67)
  • Winston Hill (75)
  • Paul Rochester (72)
  • John Schmitt (52)
  • Bob Talamini (61)

Defensive Linemen
  • Verlon Biggs (88)
  • John Elliot (80)
  • Gerry Philbin (81)
  • Al Atkinson (62)
  • Ralph Baker (51)
  • Paul Crane (56)
  • Larry Grantham (60)
  • Randy Rasmussen (66)

Defensive Backs
  • Bill Baird (46)
  • Earl Christy (45)
  • Cornell Gordon (48)
  • Jim Hudson (22)
  • Johnny Sample (24)

Special Teams
  • Mike D'Amato (47)
  • Curley Johnson (33)
  • Bake Turner (29)
  • Jim Turner (11)

Rookies in italics

Heidi Game

The 1968 season also saw the Jets involved in one of the most notorious incidents in television history, an incident that would change the way television networks carried sporting events for decades to come. On November 17, 1968, just before 7:30pm Eastern time, the Jets scored late to take a 32–29 lead over the Oakland Raiders with 1:05 left. NBC cut to a commercial, and then everywhere but the West Coast showed the movie Heidi, a show which NBC had promoted extensively for the sweeps period. Outraged fans bombarded NBC headquarters in New York with phone calls demanding the game be restored; so many phone calls were made that they eventually knocked out the NBC switchboard. Even though a decision was made to carry the game to conclusion, this decision could not be communicated, thus resulting in the movie starting on schedule.

Fans' ire was further fueled when they discovered that NBC's cutting away from the game denied them from seeing live a dramatic finish. On the Raiders' second play from scrimmage on the next drive, Daryle Lamonica threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Smith, giving the Raiders a 36–32 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Earl Christy of the Jets fumbled at the 10 yard line, which the Raiders' Preston Ridlehuber converted into another touchdown, ultimately giving the Raiders a 43–32 victory. Much of the country learned of this final outcome only via a bottom-of-screen crawl line shown during the movie. This incident, dubbed the Heidi Game, resulted in most television networks and sports leagues amending their television policies to ensure that games in progress would be broadcast to their conclusion, no matter what, even if it meant delaying or canceling the rest of the network's lineup, and even if the game's outcome seemed assured.


  • On December 29, Weeb Ewbank became the first coach to win titles in the National Football League and in the American Football League. Ironically, his former team, the Baltimore Colts won the 1968 NFL Championship on December 29 as well. The Colts defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 34-0.

Week Date Opponent Result Game site
AFL Champ. December 29, 1968 Oakland Raiders W 27-23 Shea Stadiummarker
SB III January 12, 1969 Baltimore Colts W 16-7 Miami Orange Bowlmarker

Super Bowl III

The Guarantee

In 1969, the Jets would reach the pinnacle of their existence and provide the moment that would indicate the AFL's coming of age. Under Namath's guidance, the Jets rose to the top of the AFL, defeating the Oakland Raiders in a thrilling AFL championship game, 27-23. The win qualified them to represent their league in a game that was being referred to for the first time as the Super Bowl (and referred to retroactively as Super Bowl III). They were pitted against the champions of the NFL, the Baltimore Colts. At the time, the AFL was considered to be inferior to the NFL, and most people considered the Jets to be considerable underdogs and treated the Jets as such. That would change three nights before the game while Namath was being honored by the Miami Touchdown Club as its Player Of The Year. Namath took exception to a heckling Colts fan and used that moment to lament the lack of respect his team had gotten to that point. He then said "The Jets will win Sunday. I guarantee you." His audacious remark proved correct, as the Jets created one of the greatest upsets in football history by defeating the Colts 16–7. This victory showed that the AFL was capable of competing with the NFL.

Scoring Summary

Quarter Time Team Drive Scoring Information Score
Length Plays Time NYJ BAL
2 9:03 NYJ 80 12 5:06 TD: Matt Snell 4 yard run (Jim Turner kick) 7 0
3 10:08 NYJ 8 8 4:17 FG: Jim Turner 32 yards 10 0
3 3:58 NYJ 45 10 4:06 FG: Jim Turner 30 yards 13 0
4 13:26 NYJ 61 7 3:58 FG: Jim Turner 9 yards 16 0
4 3:19 BAL 80 14 3:15 TD: Jerry Hill 1 yard run (Lou Michaels kick) 16 7

Awards and honors


External links

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