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FDNY tops NYPD in charity football game

It's called the Fun City Bowl, but the annual clash between New York City's fire and police department football teams is a seriously fought competition.

Sunday at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium, in the 40th bowl game, the FDNY defeated the NYPD 7-3. Last year, the FDNY won, 3-0.

Ryan Davan, the FDNY quarterback and the game's most valuable player, said the contest was fierce, with the game coming down to the final drive.

"We had our hearts on the line," said Davan, 31. "And we came out victorious."

Davan is now an officer with the Clarkstown Police Department -- yes, police department -- in Rockland County, but he spent seven years as an FDNY firefighter. His allegiance, and football skills, remain with the FDNY.

Davan was not the only person on hand with ties to the worlds of both policing and firefighting. Larry Collinson of Long Beach, retired NYPD, used to play for the Finest, as the department team is known. But Sunday, he was cheering on a younger brother who plays middle linebacker for the FDNY team, known as the Bravest.

The teams regularly play other police and fire departments squads and Collinson said that in addition to being the most anticipated game, the Fun City Bowl is also the match with the most injuries.

"It's a very tough rivalry," said Collinson, 44, who was a receiver. "It's the Super Bowl every year for them."

The game is organized and sponsored in part by the Municipal Credit Union, which serves public employees in New York City and the region.

Money raised at the bowl through ticket sales, raffles and donations goes to funds that aid firefighter and police officer families in need as well as the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that helps injured armed services members.

"We all know how important bragging rights are," said credit union communications manager Mike Mattone. "But in the end it's all about raising money for a good cause."

The NYPD enjoys a 26-14 edge in the bowl, and though the Bravest have done well in recent years, it has always been seen as having the advantage.

Sitting quietly after the loss, flanked by teammates, receiver and Bronx police officer John Vega was ready to play again, saying, "I'd go right now."

"It burns," Vega, 29, said of the defeat. "It burns."

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