Tom Brady’s Best Celebrity Buddies Attend Charity Football Game

Maria Menounos and Michael Chiklis dish on playing with the Patriots star.

Celebrities, politicians, and Patriots players past and present took the field at Harvard Stadium for Tom Brady’s Football Challenge on Friday night.

The annual charity game benefits Best Buddies International, a nonprofit founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver which empowers and helps create employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

While the event was all in good fun, homegrown stars Maria Menounos and Michael Chiklis definitely came to play against the collection of New England’s finest, including Danny Amendola, Tedy Bruschi, and Rob Ninkovich.

As a diehard Patriots fan, Menounos was thrilled to finally catch a pass from Brady at this year’s game, calling the experience “pretty epic.”

“I was not leaving here without catching one pass,” the Medford native said. “As the ball was coming to me, I was like, ‘Holy s–t, holy s–t! Don’t drop it, don’t drop it!’ I dropped the first one. Second one got stolen by Michael Chiklis. Third one wasn’t going down like that.”

Chiklis, who grew up in Andover, was pretty proud of the fact that he got to intercept Brady during the game.

“I’m going to be living off of that and dining out on that for many, many months to come,” the actor said. “Just know that I’ll be in L.A. and I’ll be saying to friends of mine, ‘Did you ever intercept a Tom Brady pass? No you didn’t did you, because I did.'”

Off the field, The Shield star revealed that he’s actually good friends with Brady and is “possibly the biggest Pats fan.”

“I was there in 2002 when we won the first Super Bowl and this all began,” Chiklis said. “That was the year I won the Emmy with The Shield and I had the great fortune because Fox was covering it, they knew that I was a big Patriots fan so they sent me, and I’ve gone to every one since.”

Even though he lives in Los Angeles now, the actor’s allegiance to Boston sports teams has never wavered, saying, “You can’t take the Boston out of the kid.”

Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III also played in Friday’s game, while Gov. Charlie Baker stopped by to offer his support from the sidelines. Julian Edelman was there too, but was relegated to autograph duties due to his recent foot surgery.

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri was on hand as well for the Guy Cooking with Best Buddies Celebrity Chef Food and Wine Festival, which was added to the festivities for the first time this year.

In addition to Brady’s Football Challenge, the quarterback’s pals will head out to Hyannis Port on Saturday for the Best Buddies cycling challenge. The event will conclude with a New England-style clambake and a concert by rock n’ roll legends the Beach Boys.