By Donald Judd, CNN
(CNN) — President Joe Biden welcomed the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs to the White House Monday, offering effusive praise for players’ performance on and off the field.
“Most important, as much as these guys know about football, they know about life and how to use their platform to make a difference,” Biden said during the South Lawn ceremony. “Speaking out for racial justice, honoring veterans as you do, supporting tutors and mentors for local schools – this is an organization that emphasizes community service and encourages players to create their own charitable organizations, which many have done, and it matters. You’re showing the power of one of the most elusive things in the world: Unity.”
The Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in a thrilling 38-35 shootout at Super Bowl LVII in February. It was the team’s second Super Bowl victory in four years, having won the championship in Super Bowl LIV.
Biden offered special praise for 2023 Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes who, with tight end Travis Kelce, presented the president with a Chiefs jersey at the end of the ceremony.
“You got a young quarterback named Patrick – boy can play, man,” Biden said. “Two-time MVP, comeback king, the only player in history with a winning record when down by 10 points or more. We saw him play with that high ankle sprain – another legendary chapter in the story of one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation, and I predict of any generation.”
Biden took the opportunity to offer a tribute to the late Norma Hunt – wife of the Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, for whom the AFC trophy is named – who was the only woman to attend every Super Bowl in history.
“Jill and I send our condolences the entire Hunt family including her son and current CEO of the Chiefs, Clark Hunt,” he said. “And the Chiefs not only hold the title again, they’re building a dynasty.”
The president also acknowledged first lady – and famous Philadelphia sports fan – Dr. Jill Biden.
“I married a Philly girl – that explains a lot, doesn’t it?” he joked. “Fortunately, she is overseas right now in the Middle East. She’s a rabid Eagles fan, and the way the game ended, I might be in for a rough night.”
And he noted his own brief time playing football at the University of Delaware before his mother, and lack of skill, forced him to quit, noting one coach told him, “You run faster backward than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
“Well, my political opposition thinks the same thing,” he quipped.
Following the ceremony, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid called the team’s visit “a great time.”
“We’re really gracious being here, and thankful for all that the White House staff did for us, along with the president – he was phenomenal,” Reid said. “He took us, gave us a couple of personal talks there, and he was tremendous with it. And the one thing – it doesn’t really, the one thing I want to say, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or independent, it’s about the unity and the opportunity to come together here as the United States and be a part of that.”
Kelce also offered praise for Biden, telling reporters he enjoyed “hearing President Biden talk about the pieces and the things that mean a lot to him in the Oval Office and over in the West Wing.”
“It was just it was pretty eye-opening, and you can tell he’s in it for the right reasons,” Kelce added.
Mahomes called the entire visit “surreal.”
“I mean, I’ve never been to Washington, DC – I’ve never even got to see from the outside, seeing the White House or any of the monuments or memorials,” Mahomes told reporters. “And so, to be able to be here and see that, and see the history of this great nation that we have, it was really cool for me to just be here and be in the moment, and I don’t think I could ever really imagine it being as cool as it was.”
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