Obama salutes Super Bowl champion Seahawks

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 4:47 PM

The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks were honored by Pres. Barack Obama in a White House ceremony Wednesday.

"Let's give it up for this quiet, reserved bunch called the Seattle Seahawks," said Obama before a crowd of 12s and others in the East Room.

In what has become tradition, the NFL champions were invited to listen as Obama spoke about the team’s accomplishments on and off the field. But in a break from tradition, the team didn’t present Obama with a jersey with his name on it at the ceremony. They gave him the ultimate sign of a Seahawks fan – a 12th Man Flag.

Noting that some football analysts didn't see Seattle as a top-tier team, Obama said he especially appreciated the team overcoming long odds.

"As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdog," the president joked.

The Seahawks clinched their first Super Bowl victory in the history of the franchise in February by beating the Denver Broncos 43-8.

Obama praised head coach Pete Carroll for his leadership.

“I think those of us who are in leadership positions, across disciplines, we’re always looking at folks who do things the right way. I think it’s pretty clear that Coach Carroll does things the right way and we’re very proud of him,” said Obama.

Carroll made an offer to Obama on behalf of the 12s and The Legion of Boom, Seattle's defensive backfield.

"I do know that you have access to some of the great special forces anywhere, and you can do whatever you need to do," said Carroll. "But I want you to know that just a phone call away is 'The Boom.' "

The distinction for the team and by extension for the NFL came a day after a group of retired players accused the league in a lawsuit of turning a blind eye to the use of painkillers by teams that later led to serious complications.

In a nod to that controversy, Obama took note of Seahawks owner Paul Allen's charitable foundation that has donated millions of dollars to research traumatic brain injuries. "Obviously this is a concern of the NFL, but is also a concern of our troops," Obama said.

Obama also got in a few zingers during the ceremony.

On Richard Sherman: "I considered letting (Richard) Sherman up here to the podium today, giving him the mic, but we have to go here in a little bit."

On Marshawn Lynch: "He's not here today, but we've got to give props to 'Beastmode' Marshawn Lynch. I am sorry that Marshawn's not here because I just want to say how much I admire his approach to the press. I wanted to get some tips from him. It's about the action."

On the post-Super Bowl photo of a shirtless John Schneider: "General Manager John Schneider who put together this outstading organization. But, I'm curious where the championship belt is today, John."

On the outspoken team: "I don't have to tell you how outstanding the Seahawks are because they did a pretty good job of describing themselves as outstanding during the year."

On Brandon Mebane: "You had a dominating defensive line with guys like Michael Bennett and Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Brandon Mebane's belly roll dance. We can't do that here in The White House."

When the Sehawks entered the East Room, fans started chanting "SEA-HAWKS!"

The Seahawks are not the first Seattle team to make such a trip. Others include the 1991 National Champion Washington Huskies football team and the 2010 WNBA Champion Seattle Storm.

The 1979 NBA Champion Seattle SuperSonics did not get the opportunity when President Jimmy Carter was in office.

The Associated Press and USA TODAY contributed to this report

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