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Either Gardner, left, or Tillis, right, will have to pay off the bet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Either Gardner, left, or Tillis, right, will have to pay off the bet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have challenged Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to a friendly Super Bowl wager ahead of Sunday’s game. On Sunday, the Denver Broncos, lead by quarterback Payton Manning, play the Carolina Panthers, lead by quarterback Cam Newton, in Super Bowl 50.  

What’s on the line? A Senate floor speech, similar to what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gave on Monday  after the Arizona Cardinals lost to the Panthers in the NFC Championship. The freshman senator from the losing team’s state is required to give the floor speech, which would be either Tillis or Gardner. The senator will have to give specific shout-outs to the Super Bowl champion’s head coach, quarterback, fan base and detail the greatness of the Super Bowl champion’s home state, according to a statement.  

He also will have to wear a tie of the team color of the winning team and the written remarks must be approved and reviewed in advance. While giving the speech, the winning freshman senator must be presiding over the Senate.  

“We can only hope that Senator Gardner will conclude his speech by gifting Panthers fans with his best rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline,’” Tillis and Burr said in the release.  

“When Senators Tillis and Burr proposed this friendly Super Bowl wager, we didn’t have to think twice about accepting their challenge,” Gardner and Bennett said. “We look forward to hearing the junior Senator from North Carolina, Senator Tillis, deliver a humbling speech on the Senate floor where he will congratulate the Denver Broncos on their hard fought victory, Peyton Manning’s second Super Bowl title, and the entire Broncos organization on their third Super Bowl victory.”  

DeGette Adams Honda
From left to right: DeGette, Adams and Honda make the bet. (Photo courtesy of Adams’ office)

On the House side, Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., whose district is hosting the Super Bowl, officiated a wager between Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Alma Adams, D-N.C.  

The congresswoman from the losing team will be responsible for providing local food and drink from her congressional district to the other member, according to a release.  

If the Broncos win, Adams will provide DeGette with cookies from Carolina Cookie Company in Greensboro, Cheerwine from Salisbury, chicken and biscuits from Bojangles and a hat from her collection of 1,000 hats.  

If the Panthers win, DeGette will provide Adams with bison burgers and beer from Denver Beer Company.  

“As an impartial referee, I will sample both wagers to ensure both teams have tried their hardest,” Honda said in the release. “In exchange, I’ll provide the winner with a celebratory bottle of fine California wine. For the loser, a sixer of the best craft beer in the country to calm their sorrows.”  

Manning and Newton will fight for the ring on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Contact Gangitano at and follow her on Twitter @AlexGangitano.

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