Before Friday, I had never had the remote inclination to watch a championship team's visit to the White House. So while I have no context for comparison, the Green Bay Packers' visit Friday afternoon was fun and particularly interesting for its NFC North angles.
President Barack Obama, of course, is a longtime Bears fan who provided the Packers some bulletin-board material last January when he said he would attend Super Bowl XLV only if the Bears won the NFC Championship Game. After the Packers' victory, cornerback Charles Woodson told teammates that if Obama didn't want to see the Packers play in the Super Bowl, "we'll go see him" by winning it.
Friday, Obama said he had learned something during that episode: "Don't mess with Charles Woodson."
In light-hearted remarks during a 10-minute ceremony, Obama said: "I'm just going to come out and say it: This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do."
He added: "You guys [are] coming into my house to rub it in. What are you going to do, go to Ditka's house next?"
Packers fans, Obama said, should "enjoy it while it lasts" because Bears fans "have two dates circled" this season -- the two Bears-Packers games. Joking, I think, Obama reminded the Packers that "if you guys are on a roll" late in the season, "just keep in mind that there is only one person here who can ground all planes in and out of Green Bay if he has to."
Obama got in the obligatory joke about linebacker Clay Matthews' hair and, after Woodson presented him with an honorary share of Packers stock, Obama said: "If I'm a part owner, what I'm thinking is we should initiate a trade to send Rodgers down to the Bears. What do you think?"
Woodson then clarified that Obama is "a minority owner."
(An aside: Jay Cutler just can't get an ounce of love -- not even from the President of the United States!)
Meanwhile, Packers players filled Twitter with some cool photographs from their day at the White House. Some of the best:
In a classy move, the Packers brought former right tackle Mark Tauscher with them on the trip. Tauscher was released this summer. Meanwhile, linebacker Desmond Bishop tweeted that he left his identification in the Packers' team plane and was denied access to the ceremony.