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SGMA, Nike, and NFL Take the Lead in Supporting Congressional Flag Football Game

Date: 11/3/09

NFL Commissioner & House Leaders Attend ‘Big Game’ in D.C. 

SILVER SPRING, MD – October 28, 2009 – On Tuesday, October 27, the term ‘political football’ took on a new meaning in our nation’s capital. Last night, the 4th “Longest Yard” FootballClassic was played indoors at the Stadium Armory in Washington, D.C. This event was a flag football game for charity between 25 members of Congress (“The Inmates” aka “The Mean Machine”) and the Capitol Hill Police (“The Guards”). For the first time in the history of this game, “The Inmates” won, 32-26 – in overtime. “The Guards” now lead the overall series 2-1-1. Click here to view a photo album of the event.

“The Inmates” squad was a bi-partisan team of 20 congressmen which featured 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 included a few former NFL players, including Ken Harvey and John Booty, who also coached the team. Other former NFL players who participated in the game were Gary Clark, Eddie Lee, Ricky Ervins, Kenny Jenkins, Don Malloy, and Ravin Caldwell.
In attendance at the game were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). Commissioner Goodell performed the coin toss during pre-game ceremonies.
The purpose of the game was to raise funds for the Washington Literary Council and the Capitol Hill Police Foundation. The Capitol Hill Police Foundation, founded in 1998, supports family members of the Capitol Hill Police who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“SGMA was 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 Capitol Police Memorial Fund, five other organizations with close ties to SGMA supported 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
  • Imperial Headwear – supplying team hats for both squads 
Other sponsors of the game include Budweiser and Roll Call.
On each jersey, there was the player’s last name, team name, and number (front and back). Now that the game has been played, the jerseys and turf shoes will now be auctioned off to the highest bidder – with those funds going to the Memorial Fund.
Other interesting aspects of this game included the following: 
  • The Congressional team was allowed to have two ex-NFL players on the field at anytime.
  • 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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