11:39 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good morning, I think — still “good morning.” And it’s great to see everybody here. I want to thank the — the representatives here. The Second Gentleman is here. Representative Castor, Crist —
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, you got — (laughs). I’ll tell you, that Florida thing is something else. Anyway. (Laughter.)
And Soto and Murphy and Franklin. And one of my best friends in the world — now he’s coming back from outer space — Bill Nelson, who runs NASA now.
We’re here today to congratulate and welcome to the White House the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Applause.) To the players, the coaches, and the Glazer family — my good friends — it’s an honor to have you here.
We have to say that the fans down in Western Florida are having a pretty good year this year. I tell you, you know, the Stanley Cup and — in addition to the Super Bowl. But, you know, we’re making a pretty strong case to start calling Tampa the “City of Champions.”
And — (applause) — the — this Buccaneer team is a testament of the fact that it’s never too late to come together and achieve extraordinary things. Three quarters of the way through the season, they found themselves in the middle of the pack: seven wins and five losses.
But this is a team that didn’t fold and always got up, dug deep. They won their last four games of the season and then stormed through the playoffs — winning on the road in Washington, New Orleans, and Green Bay — and capping it all off back home in Tampa to become the first team to win the Super Bowl on their home turf in a decisive victory against the defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.
You know, it’s an incredible run by one of the most well-rounded teams in recent memory. A pair of All-Pro linebackers. Star pass rushers. A dangerous secondary. A dominant offensive line. And a legendary tight end who gave up what, I’m told, was a promising career to return to — acting career — to return to the game.
And most importantly, you’ve got a star receiver from Delaware. I’m mildly prejudiced about that. (Laughter and applause.) Where’s Chris? Where are you, Chris? There you go. (Applause.)
I called him before the game to tell him — to give him some tips on how to run some patterns. That was a — (laughter).
But, you know, born in Pennsylvania, raised in Delaware. Where I come from, that’s a heck of a combination, man. You know, Chris and I had a chance to speak before the Super Bowl. And I know, like me, he takes a lot of pride in his home state of Delaware. Chris, you’re inspiring a whole lot of kids back home in Delaware.
And he went to a — by the way, he went to a high school called Middletown — a perennial winner of the state championship. But I pointed out to him, when my son, Hunter, was a senior, he went to my Alma Mater’s high school named — by the way, all sit down. What are we — just standing? I’m sorry. (Laughter.)
I — you know, and I told him my son scored the scoring touchdown at Archmere and won the state championship that year. But, anyway, that’s — we don’t — we don’t count those things. You know, I’ve never met an athlete that doesn’t remember every damn play he made.
And, of course, two other guys worth mentioning: the coach and the quarterback. You know, 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.
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. That’s how I look at it. (Applause.)
And, Tom, looking at you, you’ve got about 20 more years left. You’re just about the best ever to play. And making it to 10 Super Bowls in the last 20 years — that ain’t bad, man. (Laughter.) I’ll tell you what, we’ve never seen anything like it in the game.
And, of course, these guys all know that sports are more than just a game. It’s something — some of my strongest memories, most enduring memories and lessons and cherished friendships come from the days I played — not went anywhere near anybody on that stage. I started in grade school playing in CYO league.
And I’ll never forget getting knocked out when I was in fifth grade, and my dad — walking off — he said, “Get up. Get up. Get up. Unless something is broken, get up.” Well, I think that’s what sports tell you: You just get up. You get up.
I went to the University of Delaware to play football, although it didn’t very do much for my career — I didn’t do very well. But, you know, I found out that your career can be embellished a little over time. It’s an amazing kind of thing.
You know, there’s an awards banquet that, many years later — which is called the Timmie Awards — was it? — and was held here in Washington. Supreme Court Justices and Presidents would show up to this big banquet. And the University of Delaware football program received the award, and I had a chance to introduce a Hall of Fame coach, one of my — the backfield coach when I played. I didn’t play much. His name was Tubby Raymond. And — and so, I got up and I said, “Here is my coach, Tubby Raymond.” Made — said some nice things about Tubby.
Tubby was really, kind of, nervous and — standing in front of Presidents and Supreme Court Justices and so many distinguished people. And he went up on — on to talk about what an incredible ball player I was at the University of Delaware. (Laughter.) It was amazing. It was amazing. That’s why I decided to run for President. I figured, if he was still around and I’d get to be elected President, I would’ve been an All-American. (Laughter.) I could’ve been big. I could’ve been big.
But all kidding aside, you guys did it the hard way. And I hope you all know just how important it was for — after such a tough year for the nation. In the middle of a long, dark winter, every Sunday, people were able to sit down and watch you play. You created memories that helped folks make it through and believe that we could get back to normal again. And you did it as a team, trailblazing, including the first team with two women full-time coaching positions. (Applause.)
And realizing that of the — of the 25 or 26 Glazer grandchildren and about 24 of them being women — you had no choice. It’s about time they stepped up. Right, guys?
Anyway, all kidding aside, the step — your team stepped up off the field, too, donating millions of meals to families in need; helping Americans exercise their sacred right to vote, including at Raymond James Stadium. Your stadium also became a lifeline for families in Tampa Bay this spring, administering nearly 200,000 vaccine shots. And you all who don’t have a shot, man: Get one, okay?
THE PRESIDENT: Get one. Get one. (Applause.)
And you’re saving lives — helping us get back our lives and loved ones.
And I want to thank the NFL for setting strong vaccination goals so fans can go see a game without it becoming a super-spreader event.
Getting vaccinated is about staying healthy and understanding that no one is invincible, even if you are young and you’re fit. It’s about looking out for those and the frontline workers out there, like the ones the team played in front of on Super Bowl Sunday.
Those workers remind us of a quintessential lesson about sports and America itself. That no matter how much and how many times we get knocked down, we always get up. We come back. We come back stronger together and achieve incredible things — just like your team did, just like we’re doing as a country.
So, congratulations, and thank you all for being here. Good luck to you all this season. And now let me bring up Bryan to say a few words. (Applause.)
MR. GLAZER: Mr. President, on behalf of our family, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches, players, and staff, and all of our loyal fans, thank you for hosting us today. It’s an honor for us to be at the White House.
For our family and fans, this day has been nearly 20 years in the making. Because despite this being our second Super Bowl Championship, this our first visit to the White House. In 2003, following our Super Bowl 37 victory, there were world events that prevented us to visit. So that makes today even more special.
And we’re here today because this team did the impossible: new players, including a new quarterback; no offseason mini camps; no preseason; limitations on meetings,\; rules and regulations were changing every day. But they stayed focused and went on to win their final eight games, as the President spoke about, and became the first team to win the Super Bowl at home. Amazing.
It’s only fitting that as we enter the 46th season in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history that we celebrate it with the 46th President of the United States.
We start this season with only one goal in mind: It’s to come back here next summer and spend a Super Bowl victory again with you. (Applause.)
MR. ARIANS: Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us this day. It — I get emotional, but it’s very, very special. This is actually my third time; it never gets old.
And I want to thank our coaches, our players, our entire organization — men, women that did such a great job last year of coming together and banding together — not to beat the other team; we had to beat the virus first. And you sacrificed more than any team I’ve ever been around — players, coaches, your families — to make sure that we had our team on the field every Sunday.
And it’s a great compliment to all of you. I can’t say enough about our owners, the Glazer family. They’re the best owners I’ve ever known and ever been around. Our players are outstanding. They do what they’re supposed to do on and off the field because they take care of each other.
We live by three words: trust, loyalty, and respect. We don’t have any rules. If you have those, you’ll have accountability and you’ll be able to do anything you want. One team, one cause.
I hope the Senate and the House start helping you. (Applause.) One team, one cause.
All right. Again, thank you all for having us here. Thank you, Mr. President. And Go Bucs. (Applause.) And Tom has got some stuff to say.
MR. BRADY: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s certainly an honor to be here. Thank you very much for your hospitality your entire staff has given us today. I think what — behind me is an amazing group of players. We have a bunch of coaches and staff here sitting down.
And it was actually a very challenging season for a lot of reasons, but we bonded together, we worked really hard, we put all our individual agendas aside, and we came together as a team.
And sports has an amazing way of bringing people together. If you look at us, we’re all a little bit different ages. I’m a little older than most of them. But we come from a lot of different places across the country, a lot of different schools, a lot of different backgrounds, but we love each other; we’re committed to one another. And when you do that, amazing things happen.
And these guys are amazing group of men. It didn’t look great there at one point. We were seven and five, struggling a little bit, as the President alluded to. But we found our rhythm. We got on a roll.
Not a lot of people, you know, think that we could have won. And, in fact, I think about 40 percent of the people still don’t think we won.
THE PRESIDENT: I understand that. (Laughter.)
MR. BRADY: You understand that, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: I understand that.
MR. BRADY: Yeah. 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.” (Laughter.) Why would they do that to me?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. (Laughter.)
MR. BRADY: So, it’s great to be — you know, we’re on the eve of football season. We start, tomorrow, practice. And we’re going to do everything we can to work to achieve another one of those Lombardi trophies.
It’s a different group of men. It’ll be a different challenge, but we’re excited for it. We’re excited for the opportunity to compete and work hard and show everyone what we’re made of.
So, we’re not going to throw the Super Bowl trophy this time, Cam, but we’re going to offer President Biden a special presentation from Mr. Glazer. And then we’re going to challenge 11 of us, 11 White House interns to game of football here on the lawn, and we intend to run it up on you guys, so — (laughter) — get ready to go. Thank you. (Applause.)
(The President is presented with a Buccaneers jersey.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, man. Unusual number, huh? Forty-six. (Laughter.) Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)
11:53 A.M. EDT