1968 New York Jets season

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
(Oakland Raiders, 27–23)
Won Super Bowl III
(Baltimore Colts, 16–7)

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 of 1967, they won the AFL Eastern Division with an 11–3 record. They defeated the defending champion 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 fourth-year quarterback Joe Namath's famous "guarantee" of victory, the Jets defeated the heavily favored Colts 16–7. The Jets have yet to return to the Super Bowl and makes them along with the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the only teams to have been to just one Super Bowl and win it. On April 2, 2007, NFL Network aired America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions, the 1968 New York Jets, with team commentary from Joe Namath, Gerry Philbin and Don Maynard, and narrated by Alec Baldwin.


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, and Isselin was appointed president on August 6.[1]


Main article: 1968 NFL/AFL draft
1968 New York Jets Draft
RD Selection Player Position College Notes
1 17 Lee White Running back Weber State
2 44 Steve Thompson Defensive end Washington
3 72 Sam Walton Tackle East Texas State
4 101 Gary Magner Defensive tackle USC
5 128 Lee Jacobsen Linebacker Kearney State
6 155 Allocated to the Cincinnati Bengals.
7 182 Oscar Lubke Tackle Ball State
8 200 Bob Taylor Running back Maryland–Eastern Shore Acquired from the Miami Dolphins for Archie Roberts.
210 Jim Richards Defensive back Virginia Tech
214 Karl Henke Defensive tackle Tulsa Acquired from the Houston Oilers for rights to Rich Marshall.
9 236 Gary Houser Tight end Oregon State
10 264 Mike D'Amato Defensive back Hofstra
11 290 Henry Owens Wide receiver Weber State
12 318 Ray Hayes Tackle Toledo
13 344 Tom Myslinski Guard Maryland
14 372 Harvey Nairn Running back Southern
15 398 Ronnie Ehrig Defensive back Texas
16 426 Tom Bilotta Guard Adams State (CO)
17 452 Myles Strasser Running Wisconsin–Oshkosh


AFL Eastern Division
New York Jets 1130.7867–1419280W4
Houston Oilers 770.5005–3303248W2
Miami Dolphins 581.3854–3–1276355L1
Boston Patriots 4100.2862–6229406L2
Buffalo Bills 1121.0771–6–1199367L8

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

Regular season schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
September 15, 1968
at Kansas City Chiefs
W 20–19
Municipal Stadium
September 22, 1968
vs. Boston Patriots
W 47–31
Legion Field[2]
4 September 29, 1968 at Buffalo Bills L 35–37 War Memorial Stadium
5 October 5, 1968 San Diego Chargers W 23–20 Shea Stadium
6 October 13, 1968 Denver Broncos L 13–21 Shea Stadium
7 October 20, 1968 at Houston Oilers W 20–14 Astrodome
October 27, 1968 Boston Patriots
W 48–14
Shea Stadium
9 November 3, 1968 Buffalo Bills W 25–21 Shea Stadium
10 November 10, 1968 Houston Oilers W 26–7 Shea Stadium
11 November 17, 1968 at Oakland Raiders L 32–43 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
12 November 24, 1968 at San Diego Chargers W 37–15 San Diego Stadium
13 December 1, 1968 Miami Dolphins W 35–17 Shea Stadium
14 December 8, 1968 Cincinnati Bengals W 27–14 Shea Stadium
15 December 15, 1968 at Miami Dolphins W 31–7 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

Week 2: at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 2: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs
1 2 34Total
Jets (1–0) 7 10 0320
Chiefs (0–1) 3 0 10619

at Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: September 15, 1968
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: 71 °F (22 °C), relative humidity 57%, wind 12 mph (19 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 48,871
  • TV announcers (NBC): Curt Gowdy (play-by-play), Kyle Rote (color commentator)
  • Box Score

Week 3: at Boston Patriots

Week 3: New York Jets at Boston Patriots
1 2 34Total
Jets (2–0) 14 6 171047
Patriots (1–1) 3 7 71431

at Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama

  • Date: September 22, 1968
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: 73 °F (23 °C), relative humidity 69%, wind 8 mph (13 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 29,192
  • TV announcers (NBC): Curt Gowdy (play-by-play), Kyle Rote (color commentator)
  • Box Score

Week 4: at Buffalo Bills

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: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
1 2 34Total
Jets (2–1) 7 14 01435
Bills (1–3) 10 10 31437

at War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York

  • Date: September 29, 1968
  • Game time: 1:30 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: 53 °F (12 °C), relative humidity 71%, wind 7 mph (11 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 38,044
  • TV announcers (NBC): Jim Simpson (play-by-play), Al DeRogatis (color commentator)
  • Box Score

Week 8: vs. Boston Patriots

Week 8: Boston Patriots at New York Jets
1 2 34Total
Patriots (3–4) 0 0 01414
Jets (7–2) 7 3 102848

at Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York

  • Date: October 27, 1968
  • Game time: 1:30 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 50 °F (10 °C), relative humidity 48%, wind 16 mph (26 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 62,351
  • TV announcers (NBC): Jim Simpson (play-by-play), Al DeRogatis (color commentator)
  • Box Score

Week 9: vs. Buffalo Bills

1 234Total
Bills 7 0014 21
Jets 3 1336 25

Week 11: at Oakland Raiders

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.


Round Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
AFL Champ.
December 29, 1968
Oakland Raiders
W 27–23
Shea Stadium
January 12, 1969
Baltimore Colts
W 16–7
Orange Bowl

AFL Championship

1968 AFL Championship Game: Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
1 2 34Total
Raiders (13–3) 0 10 31023
Jets (12–3) 10 3 7727

at Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York

  • Date: December 29, 1968
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 42 °F (6 °C), wind 18 mph (29 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 62,627
  • Referee: Walt Fitzgerald
  • TV announcers (NBC): Curt Gowdy (play-by-play), Kyle Rote (color commentator)
  • Box Score

Super Bowl III

Main article: Super Bowl III

The Guarantee

Namath (middle) running a play against the Colts in Super Bowl III.

In January 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 considered the Jets to be considerable underdogs and treated them 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.[4]

Scoring summary

Super Bowl III: New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts
1 2 34Total
Jets (13–3) 0 7 6316
Colts (15–2) 0 0 077

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida


Flagship Station Play-by-play Color Commentator Studio Host
Merle Harmon
Sam DeLuca

Awards and honors


  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. He guaranteed it – Pro Football Hall of Fame

External links

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