WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s good to be the Super Bowl champions.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos enjoyed one of the perks of taking home the Lombardi Trophy: paying a visit to the White House to celebrate the championship with the president.
President Obama started Monday’s ceremony on a light note, mimicking the retired Broncos quarterback.
“Omaha! Omaha! 44’s Mike!” he said in Manning’s football parlance. “It doesn’t seem to work as well for me.”
He also took a lighthearted jab at the former Colts quarterback, referring to him as the “guy from the commercials.”
“We can't forget to mention the heart and soul of this team's firepower, kicker Brandon McManus. And then there's this guy from the commercials. Doesn't matter whether you need insurance, pizza, a Buick. You basically can stock your whole household with stuff this guy's selling. You know where to turn, it's Peyton Manning."
The president said fans "were all a little disappointed" to see Manning retire during the spring. He commended Manning for his conduct on the field and said he and Manning discussed retirement.
"Peyton and I were talking about it, and he said, 'You should try it. Don't overstay your welcome.' But I've got term limits. I have no choice."
The president congratulated the team for its win, although he couldn’t help but remind everyone of his true NFL loyalties.
"I'm a Bears fan. 1985 was pretty good, everybody remembers. But I gotta admit this one was pretty good too."
A couple of key players from the team didn’t attend the ceremony. Cornerback Aqib Talib, who was shot in the leg at a club over the weekend, didn’t join his teammates.
Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, who signed with the Houston Texans in the offseason, elected not to go. Osweiler thanked the team for inviting him but cited his new team’s busy practice schedule as his reason for declining the invitation.