SGMA and its members have thrown its support behind the upcoming Longest Yard Football Classic, which raises funds for the Capitol Police Memorial Fund. Among those donating gear for the game are Nike (supplier of jerseys for both teams), Wilson (game balls and flags) and Under Armour (turf  shoes and receiver gloves). The NFL is the title sponsor.

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. The 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.”

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.