The idea that sparked the creation of Washington, D.C.’s first college football bowl game came about the way many good ideas do — amongst friends. While watching commercials for other games across the country flit across a TV screen, Marie Rudolph and Sean Metcalf sipped drinks and wondered why D.C. didn’t have its own game.
That curiosity led to a never-before attempted goal: to bring the first-ever college football postseason bowl game to the nation’s capital. Rudolf and Metcalf started researching the requirements for hosting a bowl game and sought opinions from area leaders in politics, business and community.
Though Rudolph and Metcalf were met with mostly lukewarm reactions to their idea, they remained confident in D.C.’s ability to be a spectacular bowl game host city. They continued their outreach efforts across the city and used their connections in the D.C. government to gain support and spark interest. The DC Bowl Committee, Inc. was created in August 2008.
Now with the city’s support behind them, the committee aimed to align the bowl — originally designated the Congressional Bowl — with team and conference tie-ins. Rudolph and Metcalf spoke with officials from the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy), the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Army) and the Atlantic Coast Conference, which all expressed interest in being involved with the bowl. Not long after, the bowl inked a TV deal with ESPN.
After attaining an NCAA license, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (now Events DC) joined the initiative as a bowl partner, lending the city’s support on a broader scale. In September 2008, the Bethesda, Md.-based EagleBank signed on as the title sponsor. Shortly thereafter, the committee hired Steve Beck as President and Executive Director.
In October 2010, Northrop Grumman, a leading global security company based in Falls Church, Va., agreed to be the new title sponsor, bringing with it a partnership to the USO. The bowl was renamed the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman.