Dowling dashed over to Cozza and begged the coach to send him in at defensive back. He'd never played that position for so much as a single down at Yale. "I'm sorry, Brian," Cozza said. "I can't. It would ruin that young man for life if I took him out of there now."
So Dowling pawed at the sideline and watched Harvard score on the last play from scimmmage and pass for the conversion, HARVARD WINS 29-29! roared the headline in
The Harvard Crimson
. "A tie!" says Boyd. "A tie! That was so traumatic it drove everyone crazy."
"You know, I still never think of them coming back" Dowling says, "because, you see, we never got the ball back."
"The thing is," Cozza says, "that even though he didn't know how to play defensive back, if I had put Brian in, I promise you, he would have figured out some way and we would have won. I promise you." Instead, that game dropped Dowling's career mark to 65-0-1.
Oh, well. Shortly after, Trudeau brought Megaphone Mark back. In June 1969, when the anachronistic class graduated, there were war protests at the ceremony. It was the culmination of a turbulent spring. The whole hockey rink had been turned over to the university community to allow it to vent its revulsion toward the ROTC boys. Draft cards were burned, more pot was smoked, and, says Rev. Boyd, "Everyone was marching toward the Green [the New Haven commons], and everyone was screaming, 'Fascists! You goddamn——fascists!' And then there was tear gas outside, and it was coming under the door, and you're thinking: But this can't be. This is Yale. This is Yale University."
That summer was Chappaquiddick, Charles Manson and Woodstock; a man from Ohio was walking on the moon, and girls were walking around Yale as students, as women. Then came the trial of the Chicago Eight and in the spring of '70, Kent State. It was, so quickly, as if the autumn of '68 had never been, as if the Yale of that time were nothing more than Brigadoon.
A year later, Dowling, cut by the Minnesota Vikings and wanted by no one else in the NFL, was scuffling for a minor league outfit barely 20 miles from New Haven. He hadn't been drafted until the 11th round. He threw wounded ducks, didn't he? Of course Calvin Hill was chosen in the first round by Dallas and became a star and made everybody think the Cowboys were geniuses. The Universal Press Syndicate passed on Malcolm Boyd, but it signed up Garry Trudeau, changing the name of bull tales to Doonesbury, (Trudeau published a volume of the original bull tales in which many of the panels were redrawn.) "There have been moments when I didn't have the price of a hamburger, when I thought about that," Boyd sighs.
Trudeau obviously kept looking after Dowling, wherever he went—back up to the NFL, to the Patriots in the 1972 and '73 seasons, drifting here and there—always the backup quarterback. A few years ago Dowling wrote the cartoonist, asking for the original of a panel that featured B.D.; it came in the return mail, and he put it up on his wall.
The Ivy League was devalued by the NCAA and is suffered today like some crumbling historical building that stands in the way of a developer's condominiums. It never occurred to anybody in '68 that the Dowling team was the end of the line for the Ivies, the end of where collegiate sport had begun.
But the Ivies award scholarships only for need, and a year at those schools costs around $18,000 now. Calvin Hill has a son, Grant, who is a 6'7" high school basketball guard, and when Hill and Dowling spoke on the phone the other day, they talked about how unfair it would be for Grant to follow his father to Yale. Never mind the $70,000 price tag for four years; how do you ask a great player to perform before a couple of hundred fans, as Grant would at the Yale gymnasium?