Members of Congress took time off from passing legislation to pass a football on Wednesday night, coming up short in a 14-6 game against the U.S. Capitol Police at the Congressional Football Game.

The biennial flag-football event pits lawmakers, along with some NFL professionals, against the Capitol Police to raise money for fallen police and military members.

“We get a chance to have a little talk with some Capitol Police,” said Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), quarterback and co-captain of the congressional team.


“There’s already been some smack talk going back and forth, but a great opportunity to raise some money for a good cause.”

Rain poured throughout the close game, but congressional staffers braved the weather to support their members.

Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-Calif.) dog Lily was the “team mascot,” dressed in a black and white “Rufferee” uniform and looking for spectators to pet her.

The congressional “Mean Machine” team had first possession and moved the ball about a yard on their first drive, inviting some colorful commentary from the announcers.

“Like a bill sitting on the Senate floor, that ball is going nowhere,” they said.

It wasn’t in the cards for Mean Machine though, who lost — their third straight loss following defeats in 2011 and 2013. They won in overtime in 2009 but lost the inaugural game in 2007.

But lawmakers hailed the game, saying it was more about working together and promoting bipartisanship.

“Republicans are people too,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), who was one of Dold’s go-to receivers. “It was great working together.

"We had practice at 7 a.m. for the past six weeks, and it’s been great to get outside of work and really bond over dropped passes,” he joked.

Former NFL linebacker Ken Harvey, who was one of Mean Machine’s coaches, wanted his players to bond over the experience.

“You have your offense, your defense and your special teams. You all have to work together in order to win,” he said. “It’s the same thing with Congress. You’ve got your Democrats and your Republicans, but they need to work together or else nothing will ever get done.”

Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) was the sole female lawmaker on team Mean Machine and said she enjoyed the camaraderie with her male teammates.

“I really feel like I get to know these guys better,” she said. “I had a bill and I was looking for some Democrats to get on before I dropped it, so I went to my teammates first and found one of them was willing to be a co-sponsor for it. Relationships matter here, and this was a great way to do it.”