One of the perks of winning a Super Bowl is traveling to Washington, D.C. to visit the White House and meet the president. The Denver Broncos got their turn on Monday when President Obama honored them for their Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers
A couple of former Broncos were unable to make the trip. Quarterback Brock Osweiler, who started seven games for Denver last season while Peyton Manning was injured, is tied up with minicamp with his new team, the Houston Texans. Evan Mathis was also unable to attend, as his presence was required at Arizona Cardinals minicamp. Louis Vasquez, who is currently a free agent, was unable to travel with the team to Washington because his wife was in labor.
A current Broncos player was unable to make the trip as well. Cornerback Aqib Talib, who is recovering after being shot over the weekend, was not physically able to travel. It's a shame, too, because Talib had a new suit custom made and everything.
On the way to DC
Plenty of former Broncos still made the trip with the team. Linebacker Danny Trevathan, who is now with the Chicago Bears, wasn't impressed with the flight Denver arranged for him.
They booked my flight for economy to The White House!!! Come on Broncos lmao .— Danny Trevathan (@Grindin_59) June 6, 2016
Not giving priority seating to former Broncos seemed to be a theme. Offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus, who retired following the team's Super Bowl victory, was relegated to tight quarters on the flight to Washington.
Turns out you get stuck in a row of 3 after you retire! @DoomzDAY55 @kaleo10 pic.twitter.com/3NQYm9jjvA— Tyler Polumbus (@Tyler_Polumbus) June 6, 2016
Obviously, only players who were on the team last season when the Broncos won the Super Bowl were invited to the White House. That meant Russell Okung, who came to Denver in free agency this offseason, was left behind.
When the current team you're on is going to the White House and you can't go... @Broncos pic.twitter.com/5nqgkffqhy— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) June 6, 2016
Checking out the White House
The team got an in-depth tour of the White House. Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, who was documenting it all on Snapchat, especially enjoyed the White House napkins and taking photos with artwork he'd be flagged for touching:
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips played tour guide on Twitter, adding some key insights.
Can't wait to meet the President.i know he is a Denver fan. With a name like Bronc Obama , he has to be!— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) June 6, 2016
President Obama, however, confirmed that he is still a Bears fan.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had said that he planned to slip President Obama a note thanking him for commuting his mother's prison sentence last year. Thomas' mother, Katina Smith, spent 15 years in jail for her role in a cocaine trafficking ring, and her sentence was commuted in November. She saw her son play football for the first time in January 2016. Thomas did get the opportunity to thank Obama for intervening. His grandmother remains in prison, however, for her role in the same drug ring.
Demaryius Thomas did get a chance to thank Obama for giving his mom clemency --also asked to consider his grandmas application #9news— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) June 6, 2016
President Obama opened his remarks by mimicking Manning's play calls, starting with the infamous "Omaha."
The president also referred to Manning as "the guy from the commercials" and said that, while it was disappointing to see Peyton hang it up, as someone who's just a little older than Manning he understood.
"OMAHA!" - @POTUS— NFL (@NFL) June 6, 2016
Obama singled out the performance of Miller, saying his dominant postseason play was "not bad for a guy who prides himself on his collection of eyeglasses and claims to have been a geek all his life."
Obama also drew laughs when he identified kicker Brandon McManus as the heart and soul of Denver's offensive attack.
"We can't forget the heart and soul of this team's offensive firepower, kicker Brandon McManus." President Obama pic.twitter.com/1NTrTZIIPe— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) June 6, 2016
Definitely one of the coolest moments of my life getting a shout out from the @POTUS #HePutSomeRespeckOnMyName— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) June 6, 2016
He acknowledged Broncos owners Pat and Annabel Bowlen, noting the team has had more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons over the course of Bowlen's ownership of the team. Annabel Bowlen presented Obama with a Broncos jersey, with his name and No. 44 on the back.
Denver @Broncos, #44 - @POTUS pic.twitter.com/poKx68EZXT— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 6, 2016
The team also gave President Obama a signed helmet, which he appreciated.
"I need a helmet. You get knocked around here in Washington quite a bit," Obama said.
Reactions from the players and coaches
After the speeches were finished and the photos were taken, Broncos players and coaches took to Twitter to react to the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I made the speech— Cj Anderson (@cjandersonb22) June 6, 2016
"This is a well-deserved celebration of an extraordinary season." - @POTUS pic.twitter.com/RNl5o9zKBq— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 6, 2016
The POTUS and I! WOW! pic.twitter.com/RUIgQmBxhV— Tyke Tolbert (@CoachTykeT3) June 6, 2016
Another one off the bucket list! #SB50Champs #Part2— Max Garcia (@MGarcia_76) June 6, 2016
Momma I met the president— Shane Ray (@X_RAYted56) June 6, 2016
#whitehouse @anu_nike91 pic.twitter.com/L7YMZv9LZG— Vernon Davis (@VernonDavis85) June 6, 2016
has taught me many things & taken me many places but today was one for the ages. @BarackObama pic.twitter.com/is7EANQMUG— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) June 6, 2016
Just a kid from Compton pic.twitter.com/8TtiKKM2I2— Ronnie Hillman (@MrHillman2U) June 6, 2016