Seahawks get Super Bowl salute from Obama

May 21, 2014, 4:49 PM | Updated: 5:34 pm
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By Brady Henderson

President Barack Obama began his salute to the Super Bowl champions with a sarcastic request.

“Let’s give it up for this quiet, reserved bunch called the Seattle Seahawks,” he said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd that gathered to celebrate the team’s first championship.

Three and a half months after defeating Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks made the customary visit to the White House Wednesday. Players posed for pictures in various rooms before Obama gave a commemorative speech that included plenty of quips, which seems fitting for a team with no shortage of personality.

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Poking fun at Richard Sherman, President Barack Obama said there wasn’t enough time to allow Seattle’s outspoken cornerback to take the microphone. (AP)
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Regardless of one’s political sensibilities, Obama hit the funny bone a few times, including when he teased cornerback Richard Sherman and his loquacious nature.

“I considered letting Sherman up here to the podium here today, giving him the mic,” he said, “but we’ve got to go in a little bit.”

Almost every member of Seattle’s 2013 roster was on hand, including several players who were either released or signed elsewhere in free agency over the offseason. One notable absence was running back Marshawn Lynch, whose reluctance to speak to the media became a national story during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.

“I am sorry that Marshawn’s not here because I just wanted to say how much I admire his approach to the press,” Obama said. “I wanted to get some tips from him.”

Seattle’s defensive line got some recognition – and ribbing – as well.

“You had a dominating defensive line with guys like Michael Bennett, Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane – and Brandon Mebane’s belly-roll dance,” Obama said. “We can’t do that here in the White House.”

The ceremony took place inside the East Room of the White House, where chants of “Sea-Hawks” broke out before Obama’s speech. He noted the connection Seattle has to its fan base, joking that the Seahawks’ home-field advantage is “kind of cheating” and suggesting the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field is a product of the stadium’s engineering. Obama also mentioned the humorous video that captured a group of Seahawks fans patiently waiting for a crossing signal while celebrating the team’s Super Bowl victory.

“That’s Seattle for ya,” Obama said.

While there were plenty of lighter moments, Obama struck more serious notes when he mentioned some of the individual stories that made up Seattle’s championship run. One was that of quarterback Russell Wilson, who as Obama noted has more victories over his first two NFL seasons than any other starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era.

“He also became only the second African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl,” Obama said, “and the best part about it is nobody commented on it, which tells you the progress that we’ve made, although we’ve got more progress to make.”

Obama was well-versed on the rest of Seattle’s roster, mentioning fullback Derrick Coleman being legally deaf since childhood as well as Sherman overcoming a rough upbringing in Compton, Calif. He also noted how three-quarters of Seattle’s secondary is comprised of players drafted after the fourth round and that 19 members of the team’s championship roster wasn’t drafted at all.

He drew a parallel to himself in that regard.

“As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdogs,” he said.

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

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