clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Joe Biden, Mark Donovan and Andy Reid congratulate Chiefs at White House

Kansas City’s first championship visit to the nation’s Executive Mansion was both somber and silly.


Kansas City Chiefs players and coaches from the 2022 Super Bowl championship team — including former players JuJu Smith-Schuster, Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap, Andrew Wylie, Chad Henne and Chris Lammons — and former coach Eric Bieniemy — joined President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Monday afternoon to celebrate the team’s victory.

February’s 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles was actually the team’s third NFL championship, but Monday was the first time it had been able to take part in the traditional White House appearance for NFL champions.

When the team won its first Lombardi Trophy after the 1969 season, the tradition had not yet been established — and in the summer after the team’s 2019 championship, the nation was deeply into the coronavirus pandemic; the White House ceremony wasn’t held.

Even Monday’s event was marred by the absence of Chiefs’ CEO Clark Hunt, whose mother Norma Hunt died on Sunday. Team president Mark Donovan stood in for his boss alongside head coach Andy Reid.


President Biden began the 16-minute ceremony by saying he’d have to be careful about what he said about the team that had defeated the Eagles. Himself a Pennsylvania native, Biden still blamed it on his wife Jill.

“I married a Philly girl,” explained the President. “That explains a lot, doesn’t it? Fortunately, she is overseas right now in the Middle East.

“She’s a rabid Eagles fan — and the way the game ended, I might be in for a rough night. Jill still doesn’t even believe the Eagles player who acknowledged the holding penalty. But I figure if the Kelce family can make it work for Travis and Jason — [the] first two brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl — then there’s hope for the rest of us.”

Biden acknowledged the Hunt’s absences.

“You know, Norma is known as the first lady of football. She attended every single Super Bowl in history — all 57 including the past one [that] her Chiefs won — and Jill and I send our condolences to the entire Hunt family, including their son and current CEO of the Chiefs, Clark Hunt.”

Then the President turned to the Chiefs’ season.

“The Chiefs not only hold the title again,” said Biden, “they’re building a dynasty. Super Bowl champs in 2020 and 2023, [they have] dominated the league with 64 wins in the last five years — the best record in the NFL. Then somehow last summer, people still counted you guys out.

“But you kept the faith. You overcame injuries, dominating the regular season 14-3. In the playoffs, you beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals — avenging last year’s AFC championship game — and then with 200 million people watching, you had another thrilling game: you beat the Eagles, becoming the Super Bowl champs again.”

Biden recognized quarterback Patrick Mahomes, calling him “one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation — and I predict of any generation.” He called tight end Travis Kelce “one of the best tight ends ever” and referred to Reid’s accomplishment of winning more than 100 games with two different teams.

“They’ve called him a beacon of offensive brilliance — a beautiful mind,” said Biden of Reid. “The guy gives full meaning [to] the word ‘coach,’ because he makes you believe in yourself.”

Then he returned to themes that Reid often addresses in his own public remarks.

“You’re showing the power of one of the most elusive things in world: unity,” observed the President. “When people from different backgrounds, each [with] their own personalities, work together as one team, you play together with a distinct style — in constant motion — with the real joy of the game and love for each other [and] a great city you represent.

“And from that unity, you strive to bring out the best in yourselves and each other. In fact, I’ve heard how even after the wins, Patrick and those players go up to Coach Reid and ask him, ‘How could we do better?’ That’s pretty incredible.”

“That’s pretty incredible for everyone watching — especially our children. That’s the power of this team: the power of sports. And I might add [that] it’s the power of this country. It’s the power to remind us who we are as Americans. We’re the United States of America. There’s nothing — nothing! — beyond our capacity when we do it together. Just like these guys behind me.

“Folks, congratulations to the Super Bowl champs: the Kansas City Chiefs — and good luck next season.”


Donovan expanded upon Biden’s remarks.

“The men who stand behind me are just remarkable examples of the American spirit,” said the team president. “Not because they won a lot of football games, [but] because they exhibited the qualities that lead to success.

“First, they work together. This season was never about one individual. It was about a group of men [who had] each other’s back, coming together to accomplish something special.

“Second, they overcame adversity — from a completely retooled roster with a lot of young players to the injury to our star quarterback. These players persevered all season long.

“Third, they believed in themselves. When the media experts and the NFL draftniks said that maybe the Chiefs’ run was over — [that] maybe the division was just too tough — the guys behind me proved the naysayers [were] wrong.

“Lastly, we are all particularly proud of how they united our community. As the President said, sports has the power to do that. We’re proud that they united Chiefs Kingdom — a fan base that has proven their reputation as the most passionate in all of football.”

Donovan then thanked Hunt and general manager Brett Veach before bringing Reid to the podium.


“I’ll tell you what. We’re fired up to be here as a football team,” exclaimed the head coach. “President Biden — [and] your staff — we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for inviting us to the White House.”

Then there was a series of sharp, loud cracks. In the moment, they sounded like gunfire — but they probably represented electronic noise from the sound system. Clearly distracted by the noise, it took Reid a moment to get back into form.

“Nobody believed [in] us before,” he finally recalled of the season. “And I’m sure it’s going to be that same way this time — [until] we come out and prove them wrong.

“You — the Chiefs Kingdom and the city of Kansas City — we appreciate all the support that you give us, week-in and week-out. It’s on the road. It’s at home. You’re the best fans in the business. We love you. We appreciate you. We sure appreciate our support here, too.

“I’m proud to be the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, man.”

President Biden Welcomes The Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs To The White House Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Then it was up to Mahomes and Kelce to present a Chiefs No. 46 jersey to the President. As they walked back to the risers where their teammates stood, Kelce stepped up to the microphone.

“So I’ve been waiting for this,“ began the tight end.

But Mahomes took him by the arm and quickly led him away.

“Sorry,” he said — as the audience laughed.

It was all part of the playful spirit the team had been exhibiting all day.

The former players and coaches went back to their new teams — and sometimes to their homes, waiting for their next NFL opportunity. The current players and coaches got on a plane to return to Kansas City. On Tuesday, they will begin the final days of the Phase 3 OTA sessions.

It’s just the next step in what they hope will be a return to the White House in 2024.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.