It was the fall of 1940, and Americans turned to college football for relief from the turbulent world around them. The Depression still had its grip on the nation and, across the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain raged. As war crept closer every day, the nations first peacetime draft called Americans to the defense of the country. While the great Tom Harmon of Michigan set new standards on the gridiron, on other fields black stars struggled for the right to play. At Stanford, coaching genius Clark Shaughnessy reinvented the game and in the process engineered the greatest turnaround in the history of college football.
But the team everybody was talking about was Cornell. Fueled by the most powerful offense in the country, the Big Red dominated the national rankings until, on a snowy field at Dartmouth, they eked out a win with a touchdown on the last play of the gameor did they? When it came to light that the touchdown had been scored on a grievous error by the officials, Cornell, undefeated and in the race for the national championship, faced a wrenching decision. The 1940 season was one of the most exciting on recordand one that taught America about the values that really matter.