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SGMA Takes The Lead In Supporting Congressional Flag Football Game

Date: 11/3/11

Former Heisman Trophy Winner Participates in ‘Big Game’ in D.C.

 NFL and Boeing Are Presenting Sponsors


SILVER SPRING, MD – November 3, 2011 – On Wednesday, November 2, ‘political football’ came to life in our nation’s capital.  Last night, the 5th “Longest Yard” Football Classic was played outdoors at the Watkins Recreation Center (13th & ‘D’ Street, SE) in Washington, D.C.  This event was a flag football game for charity between nearly 30 members of Congress (“The Inmates” aka “The Mean Machine”) and the Capitol Hill Police (“The Guards”).  “The Guards” won, 28-14, and they now lead overall series, 3-1-1.

The purpose of this athletic rendezvous was not to determine 'pigskin bragging rights' on Capitol Hill, but, instead, it was to raise money for the U.S. Capitol Hill Police Scholarship Fund – established in 1998 to provide financial assistance to the widows and children of Capitol Hill police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and Our Military Kids which provides grants to children of deployed National Guard and Reserve personnel as well as to children of severely injured service members to cover the costs for enrichment activities and tutoring.

“The Inmates” squad was a bi-partisan team of nearly 30 which featured Rep. Heath Shuler (R-NC), Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Shuler is a former quarterback for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.  Runyan played 13 years in the NFL as an offensive lineman with the Oilers, Titans, Eagles and Chargers.  This year, the Congressional team included a few former NFL players, including Ken Harvey and John Booty, who also coached the team.  The most notable player in the game was 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker (representing Franklin Sports), who played for the Congressional squad.  Walker had a first-half leg injury and was limited for the balance of the game.  One other notable player on the Congressional roster was Donna Wilkinson, a defensive lineman for the Washington Divas of the Professional Women’s Football League.  Wilkinson is also a member of Team USA, this country’s national all-star team for women pro football players.

In attendance at the game was NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Monk.  He watched, but did not play.  According to those in attendance, the top players in the game for the Congressional squad were U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (D-GA) who played defensive back; U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL), and Congressional squad player-coach John Booty.

"As an organization that supports exercise and athletic activity for all Americans, SGMA is delighted to support a fundraising cause, such as this game, which uses flag football as the vehicle to raise awareness and funds for a charitable cause," said SGMA President Tom Cove. 

“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.  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 and Our Military Kids, three SGMA member companies supported the game with the following donations:

  • Nike – footballs, shorts, and receiver gloves
  • Under Armour – game jerseys
  • New Balance – cleats

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 be donated to needy football programs.

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, 2007, and 2009.  In 2005, it as a 14-14 tie.  In 2006 and 2007, the Capitol Hill Police won – 35-7 and 28-0, respectively.  In 2009, the Congressional team won 32-26 – in overtime.  
  • 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.   


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