The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday became the first Super Bowl champion to visit the White House in more than four years, and the team was greeted by President Biden hailing the defending champs’ perseverance during the season.
“This Buccaneer team is a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to come together and achieve extraordinary things,” Mr. Biden said at a ceremony on the South Lawn.
Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was among those in attendance. He skipped the last two White House ceremonies honoring his former team’s Super Bowl victories.
Mr. Brady joked about the team’s 7-5 record, which put them in danger of missing out on the playoffs until the team rattled off four straight wins. He compared it to the 2020 election.
“I think about 40% of the people still don’t think we’ve won. You understand that?” Mr. Brady said.
“I can understand that,” Mr. Biden said laughing.
The quarterback delivered another joke when he said fans started calling him “Sleepy Tom” after he forgot what down it was during a loss to Chicago, referencing former President Trump’s nickname for Mr. Biden during the election.
“I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing and they started calling me ‘Sleepy Tom,’” he joked. “Why would they do that to me?”
Mr. Biden also highlighted the victories by Tampa’s other sports teams. The Tampa Bay Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups and the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
“We’re making a pretty strong case to start calling Tampa Bay the city of champions,” the president said.
The last time a Super Bowl winner visited the White House was in 2017, when the New England Patriots visited Mr. Trump after besting the Atlanta Falcons.
In 2018, Mr. Trump canceled the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ visit because of the controversy over NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem.
SEE ALSO: Tom Brady, after skipping out on Trump and Obama, shows up for White House visit
The next year, the Patriots opted not to visit after owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution (the charges were later dropped)* and because some players objected to Mr. Trump’s policies.
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were not invited to celebrate on the South Lawn because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Brady has a spotty record attending White House events. Of his six previous Super Bowl victories, Mr. Brady has only attended a White House ceremony three times.
The last time he visited the White House to celebrate a Super Bowl win was in 2005 when he showed up at a ceremony with former President George W. Bush after the Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Mr. Brady was a no-show for the Patriots’ 2017 visit with Mr. Trump and also the Patriots’ April 2015 ceremony with former President Obama.
Earlier this month, Mr. Biden welcomed the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
* A previous version of this story mischaracterized the charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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