October 28th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Political rivals become gridiron warriors

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Partisan politics was shelved for a few hours Tuesday night as Democratic and Republican congressmen teamed up with former NFL players in a gridiron battle against the U.S. Capitol Police.

The fourth annual 'Longest Yard' flag-football game raised more than $75,000 for the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council, but former Washington Redskins quarterback turned Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, said the high spirited game might help to bridge the differences between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

"It's putting some comraderie back in … the U.S. House," Shuler told CNN. "I know if we can work together on the football field we can certainly work together when it comes to our policies."

Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona as well as Democratic Re. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois joined Shuler on the bipartisan congressional roster. GOP Rep. Bill Shuster coached the squad.

Several former NFL players were on and off the field including, Washington Redskin Ken Harvey, former Philadelphia Eagle John Booty, and former Detroit Lion Ed Lee.

Harvey said it was a unique experience to watch the members of Congress come together as a team.

"One day when we were at practice and I was looking around and these guys that you know are bitter enemies and fighting with each other and they're here joking together laughing and just really coming together for a common cause," Harvey said. "I think that's pretty awesome."

The only thing the Democrats and Republicans argued about was playing time, which fell to Shuster to make sure everyone was happy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner helped the bipartisan spirit from the sidelines, but Pelosi had a word of caution for the members of Congress: Don't beat the Capitol Police too badly.

"We want the members to win, but we want the guards to be very strong because their day job is very important," Pelosi said.

When the whistle blew, the Congressional team beat the Capitol Police 32 to 26 in overtime.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Andi

    I hope they can move forward from this and work together. At the very least, maybe they can see each other as human beings, instead of political enemies. At the end of the day, it's their constituents that suffer from their petty differences. However, I have to be cautious with any optimism. After all, they only care about the next election, not the people they are elected to represent.

    October 28, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Angie in Pa

    Sad they can come together for sports but not policies like Healthcare!! PUBLIC OPTION!

    October 28, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    I wonder how many of these 'guys' are nursing sore knees, strained backs, and newly discovered muscles today...lol....glad they were able to raise for a good cause!

    October 28, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Carnell From The Motor City!

    Somebody Must Be Joking To Call This A Real News Story. I Guess It Must Be A Very Slow News Day At HypocriCNN!

    October 28, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. anotherGDlefty

    Too bad they can't come together for the American people. Ever.

    At least they didn't have to worry about doctor bills if they got hurt during the game..................

    October 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. sara

    The GOP will be bipartisan on bullsh! Never for the good of the Country where it will make a difference

    October 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Dessigirl

    Whether an NFL player or a representative in congress, the focus is always on money and power. It's all about getting on the right team and winning. How to prevent the other guy from scoring is what both games are about!!!! Working together... never with the opposite team!!!

    October 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Hammerer

    From CNN Obama's #1 lap dog -- last in viewers news choice!

    October 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |