It’s a long running tradition that pits members of Congress against the United States Capitol Police. A battle of skill on the gridiron (or maybe just hope that no one gets hurt!)
The Congressional Football Game is in its 8th year and the bi-partisan Congressional team is hoping this is the year they are victorious. Former NFL stars John Booty of the Philadelphia Eagles and Ken Harvey, of the Washington Redskins help coach, play and organize the event.
The tradition started in honor of two US Capital policemen, Officer Jacob "JJ" Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, who were killed in the line of duty.
Harvey says, “They started this event to raise money to help put their kids through college. And through that they realized that putting Democrats and Republicans together on a team, playing against the Capitol Police.”
“In football and in life you experience things a lot more when you are together and have an ultimate goal. We kind of feel like this is our way of bringing people together.”
In light of the shooting at a Republican baseball practice 4 months ago, these practices for the Congressional football game were kept under wraps with more security on guard. Despite all that, Harvey says it was exciting and powerful to see more men and women agree to participate in the event than expected.
“We’re not going to let what someone else is doing dictate the way we live. You have to go out and continue to do it."
The two Capitol Police special agents, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, that were injured in the June shooting will be honored during halftime of the Congressional football game.
The team nicknames were inspired by the movie “The Longest Yard”.
The US Capitol Police Team is “The Guards”.
The Congressional team, coached by Harvey and Booty, is nicknamed the “Mean Machine” and some members participating are Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Martha McSally (R-AZ). They will also be joined by several former NFL Stars like Herschel Walker and former Washington Redskins Gary Clark and Santana Moss
The Congressional Football Game will benefit 3 charities:
United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund, Our Military Kids, A Advantage 4 Kids
The game is October 11th, 7PM at Hotchkiss Field on the campus of Gallaudet University
NFL Play Football Clinic at 5:30pm – a free NFL sponsored clinic led by USA Football coaches and former NFL player