WASHINGTON — Until a couple of hours earlier than kickoff, Tom Brady was questionable for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ celebration of their Super Bowl title on the White House. He was essentially the most prolific winner of titles and decliner of presidential invites in league historical past.
But when the band struck up and President Biden strode onto the South Lawn to fulfill the championship workforce, Mr. Brady, the quarterback and seven-time N.F.L. champion, was there, smiling in a darkish swimsuit and sun shades, main a small procession together with his coach, his workforce’s proprietor and the commander in chief himself.
A couple of minutes later he was again within the highlight, tossing off political jokes like slant routes, largely focusing on Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald J. Trump, a longtime good friend of Mr. Brady’s.
Mr. Brady first needled Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he truly received the 2020 presidential election, which many Trump supporters nonetheless consider. The quarterback mentioned many individuals didn’t consider the Buccaneers might win the championship final 12 months.
“I think about 40 percent of the people still don’t think we won,” Mr. Brady mentioned.
“I understand that,” Mr. Biden mentioned.
Mr. Brady turned to Mr. Biden. “You understand that, Mr. President?” he mentioned.
Mr. Biden smiled. “I understand that,” he mentioned once more.
“Yeah,” Mr. Brady continued. “And personally, you know, it’s nice for me to be back here. We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what down it was. I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing, and they started calling me ‘Sleepy Tom.’ Why would they do that to me?”
Mr. Biden — whom Mr. Trump steadily known as “Sleepy Joe” throughout the marketing campaign — performed alongside. “I don’t know,” he mentioned.
Mr. Brady, 43, is essentially the most achieved sign caller in N.F.L. historical past. After main the New England Patriots to 6 championships in his first twenty years within the league, he quarterbacked Tampa Bay to a 31-9 Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in February, shortly after Mr. Biden was inaugurated. It earned him and his teammates a request to go to the president on the White House.
But as of Monday, White House officers couldn’t say for certain if he deliberate to attend.
Mr. Brady missed a number of presidential workforce visits below Mr. Trump and President Barack Obama after successful earlier Super Bowls. He final trekked to a White House title ceremony in 2005, when George W. Bush was in workplace. His attendance this time round was rumored on Monday, then confirmed by pictures posted to social media on Tuesday morning.
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Mr. Biden has in latest weeks additionally hosted the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, as his administration revives a convention of championship invitations that had grown sporadic below Mr. Trump after many gamers boycotted the festivities. An N.F.L. champion final visited the White House in 2017.
On Tuesday, whereas Mr. Brady’s teammates stood on risers and baked within the warmth of the White House garden, the president praised the Bucs for his or her persistence in reeling off an unbeaten run to the championship after beginning the season with seven wins and 5 losses.
“This is a team that didn’t fold, got up, dug deep,” the president mentioned. “It’s an incredible run.”
He singled out Tampa Bay receiver Chris Godwin, who was born and raised in the identical states as Mr. Biden. “Born in Pennsylvania, raised in Delaware,” the president mentioned. “Where I come from, that’s a heck of a combination, man.”
The president couldn’t resist sprinkling in a couple of tales of his personal, much less achieved soccer profession. And he couldn’t resist ribbing Mr. Brady — and himself — about their ages.
“A lot has been made about the fact that we have the oldest coach ever to win a Super Bowl and the oldest quarterback to win the Super Bowl,” mentioned Mr. Biden, who at 78 was the oldest individual ever sworn in as president. “Well, I’ll tell you right now: You won’t hear any jokes about that from me. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with being the oldest guy to make it to the mountaintop.”
Eventually, Mr. Biden gave option to the workforce proprietor, Bryan Glazer, and coach, Bruce Arians, after which to Mr. Brady and his comedy routine.
When the laughter from the comparatively small crowd on the garden died down, Mr. Brady and the Buccaneers ready to present the president a customary customized jersey, with “Biden” throughout the again and the quantity 46, for Mr. Biden’s presidency. The band ready to play Queen’s “We Are the Champions” whereas gamers, together with the quarterback, posed for pictures with onlookers together with a number of Florida politicians.
But first Mr. Brady had yet another joke, about how he deliberate to take advantage of the rest of his time on the White House.
“We’re going to challenge — 11 of us — 11 White House interns to game of football here on the lawn,” Mr. Brady mentioned.
“And we intend to run it up on you guys, so get ready to go.”