Friday, January 31, 2014

President Obama's Plans For Super Bowl XLVII, Seattle Seahawks Vs. Denver Broncos

POTUS tosses the pigskin in the Oval Office
The First Fan predicts how the game will be won...
Washington, DC -  After an intense week that included his State of the Union Address and follow-up trips to four states, President Barack Obama will have some downtime on Sunday as he catches the action during Super Bowl XLVII, joining a global audience estimated at 100 million. 

As has been the case since he took office, the President will be at the White House when he watches the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in New Jersey, said Press Secretary Jay Carney.  

A diehard Chicago Bears fan, President Obama has no actual skin in the big game, though he will eventually welcome the victors to the White House for a ceremony honoring their Championship.  And ever the politician, the President won't say which team he's rooting for.

"I'm not going to pick because I don't want to offend any of the great cities participating," President Obama said in a CNN interview that aired today.  

But the First Fan did predict how the game will play out.

"I think it's going to be a lot like the Seahawks-49ers game," President Obama said, recalling the game that got the Seahawks their championship berth.

"I think it's going to come down to the last play." 

Carney did not specify if non-family guests will join President Obama as he finds out if his prediction comes true.  But Carney said that as is now a tradition, the Commander in Chief will be doing a bit of work on Sunday:  He'll do a live interview during the pre-game show.  

FOX network anchor Bill O'Reilly will be the man asking the questions "because FOX is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year," Carney said.  

The duo will also tape a second interview that will air on Monday night, O'Reilly announced on Thursday as he promised "hard" questions for Mr. Obama.

In the Navy Mess, a cake honoring Broncos vs. Seahawks
Next to Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is America's biggest eating holiday.  The White House chefs, led by Executive Chef Cris Comerford, annually create a hearty Game Day menu for the President that features foods in honor of the two dueling teams, served with beer from their home cities.  1600 Penn is ready for the big day:  The cake above, with the Super Bowl trophy and the Broncos and Seahawks mascots, was today on display in the White House cafeteria, the Navy Mess.

In 2013, President Obama feasted on a menu in honor of the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.  It included "Chesapeake Crab Cakes" in honor of Baltimore, and "San Francisco Cioppino Stew with Sourdough Toast" in honor of Fog City.  The dish originated there, and is typically made with crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish.  Anchor Steam beer from San Francisco, and Clipper City from Baltimore were served. 

On Sunday, the President will likely be keeping an eye out for the Seahawks' Richard Sherman.  During his CNN interview, the President discussed the cornerback's recent headline-making behavior.  

The NFL fined Sherman $7,800 for unsportsmanlike conduct on the heels of a rant after his  team beat the San Francisco 49ers in the game that qualified them for the Super Bowl.  It included Sherman making a choking sign at 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"My sense is he's [Sherman] taking a page out of Muhammad Ali's playbook, which is, I think he said explicitly, this is a good way to get attention.  In fact, Ali said he got his schtick from wrestlers he used to watch," President Obama said.

"...So I think it's part of the tradition 'let me get some attention.' Obviously, it's worked. I suspect he's going to have a lot more endorsement contracts and more jersey sales after that."

The President is also being regularly briefed on security arrangements for Sunday's Super Bowl game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Carney said.

The President reacts during his '09 Super Bowl watch party
In the first term, the President hosted big Super Bowl watch parties...
During the salad years of his first term, the President used to host big Super Bowl watch parties at the White House.  

The President's three parties in 2009, '10, and '11 had guest lists that included family and friends, Members of Congress, celebrities and staff, who watched in the Family Theater and enjoyed a big Game Day feast.  

The President's third and last big Super Bowl bash in 2011 was for some 200 guests, including lawmakers and singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.  

That Super Bowl party also featured the debut of the home-brewed White House Honey Ale, which went on to make global headlines, thanks to the Obamas' chefs being the first in history to make presidential beer at 1600 Penn.

But things have been far quieter since 2012.  In the midst of his hard fought re-election campaign, the President and First Family had their own low-key watch party at the White House in 2012.  The same was true last year, and this year again.

As for his beloved Chicago Bears:  Though they haven't been near the Super Bowl in years, the President has made sure his favorite team got a White House visit.  In October of 2011, he honored members of the 1985 Chicago Bears at a ceremony, giving them what he called "well-deserved and long overdue recognition" for their Super Bowl Championship season. 

The '85 Bears went 15-1 in the regular season, but never got to visit the White House following their 1986 Super Bowl victory due to the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle just two days later. 

"This game changed everything for every team that came after them," President Obama said. "They changed the laws of football."


*Photos by Pete Souza/White House