Brian Dowling (American football player)

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Brian Dowling
Born: (1947-04-01) April 1, 1947 (age 71)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Career information
Position(s) Quarterback
College Yale University
NFL draft 1969 / Round: 11 / Pick 277
Career history
As player
1969 Minnesota Vikings (camp)
1970–1973 New England Patriots
1974–1975 Charlotte Hornets (WFL)
1977 Green Bay Packers

Brian John Dowling (born April 1, 1947) is a former college and professional football player and was the starting quarterback of the Yale University football team in the late 1960s. He set, and held for decades, a number of Yale passing records. He finished 9th in vote for the 1968 Heisman Trophy, and was awarded the Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award for sportsmanship in 1967. At Yale, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Skull and Bones Society.

Dowling lost only one football game in grammar school, and never lost a game he completed throughout high school and college. In Dowling's final collegiate game, his 1968 Yale team was undefeated, nationally ranked and heavily favored going into The Game against Harvard University at Cambridge. Although likewise unbeaten and untied, the Crimson were also unheralded. Harvard, trailing 29–13 with 42 seconds remaining, rallied to tie the game, while Dowling stood helplessly on the sideline. As a result, both schools shared the Ivy League title. The contest's result inspired the Harvard Crimson the next day to print the headline, "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29".[1][2]

Dowling played football in high school for St. Ignatius High School, located in Cleveland, Ohio. He played in two consecutive City Championship games in 1963 and 1964; St. Ignatius lost to Benedictine High School, 30-16, in the 1963 game, when Dowling was injured early in the contest and had to be hospitalized, but avenged the loss the following year with a 48-6 victory over Benedictine. As a 2-way player, Dowling still holds the Ohio high school football state record for career interceptions with 33.[3]

Dowling played briefly in the National Football League for the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 1969 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, but cut in training camp.

The character B.D., in the Doonesbury comic strip, was originally based on and named after Dowling, a Yale classmate of cartoonist Garry Trudeau.[4]

Dowling is currently an insurance industry consultant who works with a venture capitalist in the Boston area.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Washington Post, "Throwback Thursday: Harvard 'beats' Yale, 29 - 29", November 20, 2014
  2. ^ "HarvardBeatsYale"
  3. ^ "State Records : Football - Defense". Retrieved 2016-11-14. 
  4. ^ Gene Weingarten, Doonesbury's War. The Washington Post, October 22, 2006, pg. W14.
  5. ^ Randall Beach, Character forever linked to tie game Yale ‘lost’ to Harvard in ’68,, March 5, 2010.