Kansas City Chiefs visit White House for first time to celebrate Super Bowl victory

Tribune Content Agency

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Kansas City Chiefs are building a dynasty as he welcomed them on Monday to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Joking that it was good First Lady Jill Biden, a die hard Eagles fan, wasn’t there to witness the ceremony, Biden talked about the unity and teamwork the Chiefs showed over the course of the season and congratulated them on a hard-fought win.

“The Chiefs not only hold a title again, they’re building a dynasty,” President Joe Biden said, praising the team’s success under the leadership of Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“Boy can play, man,” Biden said of Mahomes. “Two-time MVP, the 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.”

In addition to Mahomes, Biden heaped praise on tight end Travis Kelce, who mouthed a wowed profanity when his name was uttered by the president. Biden called the pair two of the best players in the NFL.

Kelce said he was awed by the experience of visiting the White House, saying it was an experience he would never forget.

“Hearing President Biden talk about the pieces and the things that mean a lot to him in the Oval Office over in the West Wing, it was pretty eye opening,” said Kelce, who was wearing a bright red suit with a flared lapel. “And you can tell he’s in it for the right reasons.”

Mahomes said it was his first time seeing the White House and Washington’s other historic sites in person.

“It was really cool for me to just be here and be in the moment,” Mahomes said. “And I don’t think I could ever really imagine it being as cool as it was.”

In his remarks, Biden said the Chiefs showed unity by uniting people of different backgrounds and personalities to work together as a team. Reid agreed with Biden after the ceremony.

“One thing I take from this, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or independent,” Reid said. “It’s about the unity and the opportunity to come together here as the United States and be a part of that. I think our guys displayed that today.”

The visit comes a day after the Chiefs announced the death of Norma Hunt, the wife of the team’s late founder Lamar Hunt and mother to current Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who wasn’t able to attend.

Norma Hunt had attended all 57 Super Bowl games, including all three of the Chiefs’ wins. The president expressed his condolences to the Hunt family and called for a moment of silence for the “first lady of football.”

The Chiefs stood in front of the White House on the South Lawn on an 80-degree day, right next to the shining Vince Lombardi Trophy. It was the first time a Chiefs team ever visited the White House.

Teams didn’t start consistently going to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. after winning a championship until 1980, when President Jimmy Carter invited the Pittsburgh Steelers to visit with the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 1970, which means they didn’t score a visit to the White House to see President Richard Nixon. When the team won again in 2020, the potential visit was ultimately canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We missed the first one due to COVID but we are here strong, man,” Reid said. “Kansas City strong”

The Chiefs entered a White House occupied by Eagles fans. Biden claimed on Twitter ahead of the game that he wasn’t picking a side as president before adding “as Jill Biden’s husband, fly Eagles, fly.”

The first lady grew up in the Philadelphia area, attended the Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium dressed in a custom Eagles jersey with her name on the back and the No. 46 for his husband’s presidency.

The Chiefs presented the president with a red No. 46 jersey for the Super Bowl champions, which could be awkward for the first lady when she returns from overseas.

The president, who described his wife’s fandom as “rabid” during the ceremony, noted she still doesn’t believe the holding penalty called at the end of the game.

Biden joked that the mayor of Philadelphia had asked him to arrest Reid, who coached the Eagles before moving to Kansas City, and bring him back to Philadelphia.

Two coaches and the general manager of the Chiefs have ties to the University of Delaware, where Biden went to school. Biden told a story about how he played on the school’s football team as a freshman, but had to quit because he didn’t have a 2.0 GPA.

Several Kansas and Missouri area lawmakers attended the ceremony, including Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Sharice Davids, Kansas City area Democrats who bet White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that the Chiefs would win.

Other officials in attendance included Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas and U.S. House members from both Missouri and Kansas.

Several of the lawmakers showed off their Chiefs spirit. Cleaver sported a Chiefs hat, while Kansas Republican Rep. Ron Estes wore a Chiefs jersey under his suit jacket and Missouri Republican Rep. Mark Alford donned a bright red blazer.

Kelly brought a football from the Super Bowl she hoped to have signed by Mahomes and Kelce.

She succeeded in getting Mahomes, but instead of Kelce she had to settled for Biden’s autograph.