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SGMA & Its Membership Use Football To Support A Good Cause

Date: 10/8/09

‘Political Football’ Takes on New Meaning in Washington, D.C.

SILVER SPRING, MD – October 8, 2009 – Some of those working on Capitol Hill are getting ready for some football!  On Tuesday, October 27, the 4th “Longest Yard” Football Classic will be played indoors at the Stadium Armory in Washington, D.C.  Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm.  This event will be a flag football game for charity between 25 members of Congress (“The Inmates” aka “The Mean Machine”) and the Capitol Hill Police (“The Guards”). 

“The Inmates” squad is a bi-partisan team featuring Rep. Heath Shuler (R-NC), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL).  Shuler is a former quarterback for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.  This year, the Congressional team will be supplemented with a few former NFL players, including Ken Harvey and John Booty, who are also coaching the team.

The purpose of the game is to raise funds for the Capitol Police Memorial Fund (established in 1998) which supports family members of the Capitol Hill Police who have lost their lives in the line of duty. 

“SGMA is proud to support the “Longest Yard” Football Classic to help those who have lost loved ones while serving our country,” said Bill Sells, SGMA’s vice president of government relations.  “SGMA applauds the Members of Congress and the Capitol Hill Police for their participation in this game.  Most of the players on the Congressional team are over 40 so we commend them for their commitment to this event.  It showcases their passion for football and their respect for those who protect all the people on Capitol Hill.”

To help maximize contributions to the Memorial Fund, four SGMA members are supporting the game:

  • National Football League – title sponsor
  • Nike, Inc. – supplier of jerseys for both teams
  • Wilson Sporting Goods Company – game balls and flags
  • Under Armour – turf shoes and receiver gloves

Other sponsors of the game include Budweiser and Roll Call.

On each jersey, there will be a player’s last name, team name, and number (front and back).  After the game, the jerseys and turf shoes will be auctioned off to the highest bidder – with those funds going to the Memorial Fund.

Other interesting aspects of this game include the following:

  • The Congressional team is allowed to have two ex-NFL players on the field at anytime
  • Former NFL players who will participate in the game include Ricky Sanders, Raven Caldwell, Gary Clark, and Eddie Lee
  • President Obama will perform the pre-game coin flip which will have been taped and then shown prior to the game.
  •  This game was held in 2005, 2006, and 2007.  In 2005, it as a 14-14 tie.  In 2006 and 2007, the Capitol Hill Police won – 35-7 and 28-0, respectively.
  • In 2005 and 2006, the head coach for the Congressional team was former University of Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne, who was, at the time, a congressman from the state of Nebraska.  

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com .

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