[Ed. – But no, it wasn’t Redskins-Cowboys 1974. Spoiler: the “downs” did it.]
A group of students from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia met at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City on April 28, 1882 and made an unambiguous decision: The United States was declaring its independence from British football.
In the 1881 Princeton-Yale game, played at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, Princeton used the touch-in-goal to retain possession for most of the first half. Yale similarly stalled in the second.
“In an extra inning,” Weyand wrote, “Princeton kept possession of the ball until darkness terminated the farce.” It was another 0-0 tie.
A group of British expatriates then started a movement to kill America’s nascent effort to form its own brand of football. …
That Thanksgiving , Princeton and Yale played again at the Polo Grounds. It was not a tie. Yale was leading with little time left — but then Princeton mounted a final drive.
“Yale made a magnificent stand on the three-yard line, but the ball was pushed over,” reported a history of Princeton athletics published in 1901.