A ring, a championship, and a trip to the White House

ABC News
Power PlayersFebruary 6, 2012

Political Punch

The New York Giants are headed to the White House. The newly-minted Super Bowl champions can expect an invitation from the president in the near future, continuing the time-honored tradition of championship sports teams coming to the White House.

The presidential embrace of sports dates back as far as 1865, when President Andrew Johnson welcomed members of the Brooklyn Atlantic baseball team to the White House. The tradition of inviting championship sports teams to the White House started about three decades later, when President Coolidge welcomed the Washington Senators baseball team after their World Series triumph in 1924. But President Reagan is credited with truly cementing regular visits of champions to the White House. Now, the promise of a visit to see the president is as much a part of the victory lap as a visit to Disneyland.

A White House visit can be an enticement for a team, especially if the president is rooting against you. Just ask the Green Bay Packers. They defeated President Obama's beloved Chicago Bears in the 2010 NFC Championship. Afterward, Packers player Charles Woodson pumped up his teammates by telling them if the president wouldn't come to see them play in the Super Bowl, they would go see him. The Packers went on to take it all and Obama took his lumps, welcoming the Packers to the White House, joking that they came to rub it in. But the president did eventually get to welcome the Bears, when the 1985 team visited the White House in October of last year. The '85 Bears never got to visit the White House because of the Challenger disaster that same year.

Giants fans can count on seeing their beloved team on the White House grounds soon enough.