Doug Flutie, Michael Irvin among big names at matchup
THE SANTA CLARA
February 11, 2016
The crowd oohed and awed as they stared up into the sky at the Blue Angels flying overhead in formation.
The band had just finished performing, and players and soldiers started scrimmaging on the field before an epic flag football game.
This scene took place on Feb. 6 at Buck Shaw Stadium. Santa Clara hosted the Celebrity Sweat Flag Football Challenge.
It is an annual flag football game, usually played the day before the Super Bowl, between active and former NFL players and notable celebrities and musicians.
All eyes were on Santa Clara last weekend as the city hosted Super Bowl 50. This was the first time the NFL hosted their championship game in the Bay Area since Super XIX was played at Stanford University in 1985.
The week leading up to the game was filled with events located all over the Bay Area, including Super Bowl City in San Francisco.
Santa Clara did its part by playing host for the annual sweaty, star-studded event.
A portion of the proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Foundation, which helps support injured veterans and their families.
The stands were filled with students, who received free admission along with other fans from around the country.
The celebrities and athletes were split up into two teams: the blue team, led by Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and the red team, led by NFL legend Doug Flutie.
“Kirk is throwing dimes out here, I love the way he’s throwing,” said NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. “He’s trying to show the world why he deserves a new contract and a big contract, he is hitting everybody in stride; I’m impressed with what he’s doing.”
Both quarterbacks enjoyed the pass friendly environment the game offered and took advantage of the mismatches caused by celebrities trying to guard NFL players.
“Rashad Ross was flying all over the place,” Flutie said. “I stole him from the other team because I needed him. Kirk knew right away who the guys were and got five of them on his team and I needed one.”
Ross is a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.
Flutie impressed the crowd with his athletic ability despite being one of the older players on the field, at 53 years old.
“I’ve been trying to chase him down in the backfield all day,” said actor Cazzey Cereghino. “The dude’s 55 or 60 years old and I can’t catch him.”
Flutie, however, brushed off the question about whether he was fazed by the age gap.
“Nah, I love doing this, it’s what I do,” Flutie said. “I shouldn’t have played tackle football I should have just played flag.”
Having played college ball at Boston College, Flutie knows first hand about what it is like to go tob private school. The former NFL player spoke about his experience coming from a small school and the benefits he gained from it.
“College was an amazing experience for me,” Flutie said. “We had top 20 football and basketball teams, it was just a fun time to be there, and you can do that kind of stuff coming from a small school, anythings possible.”
For most of the participants, it was their first time at Santa Clara University. Many of the participants were immediately impressed with the warm, sunny weather in the middle of winter. Irvin, like several of the other big names in the game particpated in the other festivities throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Earlier in the week, Irvin coached one of the Pro Bowl teams against other NFL great Jerry Rice.
“The weeks been great, I had a big victory over the San Francisco hero Jerry Rice in the Pro Bowl, which leads right to the Super Bowl in San Francisco,” Irvin said. “So I knocked down their hero, came to be a hero, right here in their city.”
While Irvin didn’t play in the celebrity game, he could be seen pacing up and down the sideline shouting out commands with the same competitive spirit that he was notorious for throughout his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Although the game itself was mostly noncompetitive, things heated up when Doug Flutie’s team was down by one score with under 30 seconds left. Like he did so many times in college and the NFL, he scrambled to his right and ran the ball in for the go-ahead score. With 10 seconds left, Cousins’ team had one last shot at winning the game. The quarterback heaved an impressive pass deep that was caught in the endzone as time expired. The red team walked away with the 64-59 victory.
As the game finished and players left the field, the stadium began preparing for Huey Lewis and the News.
The concert concluded Santa Clara’s successful moment in the national spotlight.
Contact Nick Redfield at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.