Have you ever wondered which current or former members of Congress would make the ideal fantasy football team? Well, we’ve got you covered.
For hardcore football fans, playing fantasy can be an exercise in cognitive dissonance. If you are a Baltimore Ravens fan who has Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, you have to pray the Steelers QB throws four TDs while the rest of the team plays like garbage. But there is no better feeling than agonizing over setting the perfect lineup and then watching your team light up your enemy, er, opponent. And for perhaps the ultimate in cognitive dissonance, Heard on the Hill presents the All-Congress fantasy football team.
Coach/Manager: Rep. Tom Osborne. There was perhaps no bigger football juggernaut in the 1990s than the University of Nebraska. Osborne led a Cornhusker dynasty, winning three national titles between 1994 and 1997. The Republican parlayed that into three terms in Congress (2001-2007).
QB: Rep. Jack Kemp. The 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee and supply-side economics cheerleader led the Buffalo Bills to two American Football League Championships in 1964 and 1965. (The AFL became the American Football Conference when it merged with the NFL in 1970.) Kemp earned AFL Most Valuable Player in 1965 and used his visible hand (get it?) to throw 114 career TDs.
RB: Sen. Tim Scott. The Republican junior senator from South Carolina attended Presbyterian College on a partial football scholarship before a knee injury sidelined his career. Despite his injury history, the senator looks like he would be a problem between the tackles and a challenge for any linebacker attempting to bring him down.
WR: Rep. Steve Largent. Before walking the halls of Congress, the Oklahoma Republican was on his way to enshrinement in a different hall, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With 100 touchdowns and more than 13,000 receiving yards, Largent is the greatest football player to ever serve in Congress. The seven-time Pro Bowler for the Seattle Seahawks is also a member of the 1980s All-Decade team. His number 80 jersey was retired by the Seahawks.
WR: Rep. LaVern Dilweg. The one-term Democrat from Wisconsin was a three-time NFL champion with the Green Bay Packers and a member of the 1920s All-Decade team.
WR: Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. A standout at THE Ohio State University and the Indianapolis Colts, the Republican’s blazing 4.44 second 40-yard dash should help any team rack up yards from the slot position.
TE: Sen. Cory Booker. The peak of Booker’s Stanford University career happened on an October day against then-No. 1 ranked Notre Dame, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer last year. The New Jersey Democrat and presidential candidate caught a pass, juked an All-American defensive back, and turned upfield for a first down on a key scoring drive that helped the Cardinal knock off the rival Irish.
K: Rep. Jason Chaffetz. The former chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was also the starting kicker at Brigham Young University. The Utah Republican even holds the school record for most PATs (points after touchdown) in a single game, with 10. He performed the feat on Nov. 18, 1989, in BYU’s big rivalry game with Utah, known as the “Holy War.”
OT: Rep. Jon Runyan. Offensive line is not a fantasy position but with the former Philadelphia Eagles star and New Jersey Republican anchoring the O-line, your running game is in good hands. “He plays the game at a high level. He’s a nasty player,” former Tennessee Titans defensive back Courtland Finnegan told ESPN.com in 2008. He described facing the 6’ 7”, 330-pound Runyan on a screen play as his “nightmare scenario.”
LB: Rep. Gerald R. Ford. Before he was the 38th president or House minority leader, “Jerry” Ford was a standout for the University of Michigan Wolverines, leading the team to two undefeated seasons and back-to-back national titles in 1932 and 1933.
LB: Rep. Colin Allred. The Texas Democrat was a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans before becoming a lawyer and serving in the Obama administration.
LB: Sen. Cory Gardner. The Colorado Republican was a two-way player for his Yuma High School. This would lead to some controversy during his 2014 campaign, when Deadspin claimed Gardner was making up this part of his biography. Gardner produced photos from his playing days and Deadspin retracted the story.
CB: Sen. Marco Rubio. The former defensive back makes no secret of his love for football, frequently tweeting about his hometown Miami Dolphins. At 5’10”, the Republican doesn’t have much of an imposing presence but could be a ball hawk who gets interceptions.
Every fantasy team needs backup, and because elected office tends to attract leaders, there’s no shortage of quarterbacks to choose from.
Rep. Heath Shuler. The University of Tennessee standout was the 1993 SEC Player of the Year and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He was taken third overall in the 1994 NFL draft and enjoyed a career that included a stint with the Washington Redskins. Elected from North Carolina in 2006, the Democrat retired in 2013.
Rep. J.C. Watts. A starter for the Oklahoma Sooners, Watts led the team to two Orange Bowl victories before playing several seasons in the Canadian Football League. He was first elected in the 1994 GOP wave and rose through the leadership ranks before retiring in 2003.
Rep. Tim Ryan. The Democratic presidential contender earned a scholarship to play at Youngstown State in Ohio before an injury derailed his career.
Sen. Joe Manchin III. The West Virginia University signal caller is another athlete whose career was cut short by injury. But the Democrat brings something else to the table: His childhood friend Nick Saban, the six-time national title winning coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Can’t hurt to have that type of strategist in your corner.