Tom Brady and the victorious Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their customary trip to the White House on Tuesday, and both President Joe Biden and the reigning champions brought their share of jokes.
Biden began the playful exchange by pointing out the 43-year-old Brady's advanced age (within the football realm) and relating with his own late-stage rise to the pinnacle of his chosen field.
"A lot was made about the fact that we have the oldest coach to ever win a Super Bowl and the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Well, I'll tell you right now, you won't hear any jokes about that from me," Biden said. "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. And Tom, looking at you, you've got about 20 more years left, just about the best ever to play. Making it to 10 Super Bowls in the last 20 years? That ain't bad, man. I tell you what, we've never seen anything like it in the game."
Dapper as ever, Brady joined in on the jovial nature of the visit when his turn at the podium arrived, offering his own humor with his brief speech.
"I think what's 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," Brady said. "But we bonded together, we worked really hard, we put all our individual agendas aside and we came together as a team. ... It didn't look great there at one point. We were 7-5, struggling a little bit, as the president alluded to. But we found our rhythm. We got on a roll.
"Not a lot of people think that we could've won. In fact, I think about 40 percent of people still don't think we won."
As those in attendance shared a laugh, Biden responded with "I understand that!"
Brady lobbed one more joke before stepping away from the microphone, referencing his own mental error made during the 2020 season.
"Personally, 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," Brady recalled as the assembled group again laughed. "Why would they do that to me?"
The visit wasn't solely about jokes, of course. Biden commended the Buccaneers for their success on the field and also recognized the franchise for its efforts made in the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 the Raymond James Stadium," Biden said. "Your stadium also became a lifeline for families in Tampa Bay this spring, administering nearly 200,000 vaccine shots. And y'all who don't have a shot, get one, OK? Get one."
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians agreed, following Biden's directive with "amen."
Biden thanked the NFL for its efforts to set an example during the pandemic and get as many Americans vaccinated as possible, turning back to Tampa Bay's successful pursuit of a title won in front of front-line workers who have been so crucial to the nation's fight against the pandemic.
"Those workers remind us of the quintessential lesson about sports and America itself: That no matter how much and how many times we get knocked down, we always get up," Biden said. "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."