1968 New York Jets season

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1968 New York Jets season
Head coach Weeb Ewbank
Owner Leon Hess
Home field Shea Stadium
Record 11–3
Division place 1st AFL East
Playoff finish Won AFL Championship (Raiders) 27–23
Won Super Bowl III (Colts) 16–7
Previous season Next season
< 1967 1969 >

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.[1]

AFL Draft[edit]

Regular season[edit]


AFL Eastern Division
New York Jets 11 3 0 .786 7–1 419 280 W4
Houston Oilers 7 7 0 .500 5–3 303 248 W2
Miami Dolphins 5 8 1 .385 4–3–1 276 355 L1
Boston Patriots 4 10 0 .286 2–6 229 406 L2
Buffalo Bills 1 12 1 .077 1–6–1 199 367 L8

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Regular season schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
1 September 15 at Kansas City Chiefs W 20–19 Municipal Stadium
2 September 22 vs. Boston Patriots W 47–31 Legion Field[2]
3 September 29 at Buffalo Bills L 35–37 War Memorial Stadium
4 October 5 San Diego Chargers W 23–20 Shea Stadium
5 October 13 Denver Broncos L 13–21 Shea Stadium
6 October 20 at Houston Oilers W 20–14 The Astrodome
7 October 27 Boston Patriots W 48–14 Shea Stadium
8 November 3 Buffalo Bills W 25–21 Shea Stadium
9 November 10 Houston Oilers W 26–7 Shea Stadium
10 November 17 at Oakland Raiders L 32–43 Oakland-Alameda Coliseum
11 November 24 at San Diego Chargers W 37–15 San Diego Stadium
12 December 1 Miami Dolphins W 35–17 Shea Stadium
13 December 8 Cincinnati Bengals W 27–14 Shea Stadium
14 December 15 at Miami Dolphins W 31–7 Miami Orange Bowl


New York Jets roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Rookies in italics

Season summary[edit]

Week 1: at Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Week 2: at Boston Patriots[edit]

Week 3: at Buffalo Bills[edit]

This game, won by the Buffalo Bills at the old War Memorial Stadium (known as the rock pile) in Buffalo was the only win for the Bills all season. A win over the eventual Super Bowl champions.

Week 4: vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week 5: vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

Week 6: at Houston Oilers[edit]

Week 7: vs. Boston Patriots[edit]

Week 8: vs. Buffalo Bills[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 7 0 0 14 21
Jets 3 13 3 6 25

Week 9: vs. Houston Oilers[edit]

Week 10: at Oakland Raiders[edit]

Main article: 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.

Week 11: at San Diego Chargers[edit]

Week 12: vs. Miami Dolphins[edit]

Week 13: vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Week 14: at Miami Dolphins[edit]


  • 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.[3]
Week Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
AFL Champ. December 29, 1968 Oakland Raiders W 27–23 Shea Stadium
SB III January 12, 1969 Baltimore Colts W 16–7 Miami Orange Bowl

AFL Championship[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 10 3 10 23
• Jets 10 3 7 7 27


Super Bowl III[edit]

The Guarantee[edit]

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 it." 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[edit]

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


Local Radio[edit]

Flagship station Play-by-Play Color Commentator
WABC Merle Harmon Sam DeLuca

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 283
  2. ^ 1968 schedule
  3. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p.283
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  5. ^ He guaranteed it – Pro Football Hall of Fame

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Oakland Raiders
American Football League champion
Succeeded by
Kansas City Chiefs