Patrick Mahomes plays tour guide, Chiefs have fun with President Biden in return to White House

WASHINGTON — Known as a master at making magnificent passes, Patrick Mahomes found himself Friday doing what he often does with his teammates, even if he didn’t have a football in his hands. Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, passed as much information as he could to many of his teammates who were in the midst of their first time being inside the White House.

The Chiefs’ return to the White House to celebrate their second consecutive Super Bowl victory, a second visit in less than a year, allowed Mahomes to demonstrate his ability to recall all the artifacts that fascinated him the most, many of them he learned 11 months ago from President Joe Biden.

“I’m showing other guys pictures on the wall, I’m showing paintings and some old furniture,” Mahomes said. “I felt like I was trying to be a tour guide.

“What makes it special is the guys that didn’t get to do it (last year). You talk about it all year long. You talk about the White House trip, winning the Super Bowl and everything that comes with that. Getting to show some of these young guys and guys that have come from other teams, it’s a special moment for them and you get to see that smile on their face when we leave.”

Within minutes of Mahomes sharing his second experience at the White House with reporters, a group of his first-time visiting teammates — defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, receiver Rashee Rice, linebacker Drue Tranquill, cornerback Nic Jones and former safety Mike Edwards — sneaked into the media briefing room, a few of them approaching the presidential lectern for a fun photo opportunity. One reporter asked Anudike-Uzomah a simple question: What was the best part of the tour?

Shaking his head and smiling, Anudike-Uzomah responded with only one word: “Everything.”

At 4:30 p.m. ET Friday, the Chiefs’ final act of their memorable 2023 season began when 32 players who played a role in the team’s championship appeared on the stage in front of the Rose Garden. The group included players who are no longer on the roster: Edwards, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, tight end Blake Bell, linebacker Darius Harris and punter Tommy Townsend.

In his short speech, Biden commended the Chiefs for their ability to persevere through a difficult regular season and their toughest playoff path with Mahomes, who became their leading man in 2018. Aaron Schatz, the chief analytics officer of FTN Network and inventor of DVOA, said the Chiefs faced the hardest postseason road to a championship ever, based on the regular-season DVOA of their four opponents. Biden proclaimed that the Chiefs’ sustained success should lead Mahomes, coach Andy Reid, tight end Travis Kelce and pass rusher Chris Jones to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the future.

“When the doubters questioned you whether you could pull it off, believe me, I know what that feels like,” Biden said, smiling. “But anyway, I don’t think anybody is doubting you now. You fought hard. You kept the faith.”

In another dramatic Super Bowl, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 25-22 comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, the franchise becoming just the ninth team to be back-to-back champions. Mahomes completed all eight of his passes on the final drive, his final connection an easy 3-yard, walk-off touchdown to receiver Mecole Hardman. One of the highlights of Biden’s speech was his giving Mahomes a new nickname: The Comeback King.

“It was cool coming from the president,” Mahomes said. “We all understand how tough it is (to win a championship). I’ve dealt with losing in the Super Bowl and losing in the playoffs. You don’t take these moments for granted. These are the moments you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I’m glad I get to do it with a lot of guys that I call my brothers.”

In his five-minute speech, Biden didn’t mention Taylor Swift, the pop superstar who began dating Kelce early last season. Biden also didn’t look at or mention kicker Harrison Butker, who stood on the top row during the ceremony. Earlier this month, Butker criticized Biden for how he handled several issues, including abortion and the COVID-19 pandemic, in a commencement address at Benedictine College. Butker questioned Biden’s devotion to Catholicism, too. Throughout Biden’s remarks, Butker didn’t smile and rarely applauded him.

The only political statement Biden included in his speech was on gun violence. He praised four members of the Chiefs — right guard Trey Smith, long snapper James Winchester, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Reid — for their response in aiding fans after the shooting in Kansas City in February after the Super Bowl parade, when one person was killed and at least 22 others were wounded.

“This team is exceptional, though as a country we have to do more to stop the tragic shootings before they happen,” Biden said. “Last year, I talked about how after winning the Super Bowl, many of these players went up to coach Reid and asked what they could do better. Even at the peak of their success, they’re looking for ways to work harder, to dig deeper and to improve.

“That’s the powerful lesson about sports in the nation: We’re a great nation because we’re good people, we never give up, we look out for one another and we leave no one behind. That’s America. I’ve never been more optimistic about our future. We just have to remember who we are. We’re the United States of America, and there’s nothing we can’t do when we do it together.”

Of course, as they did last year, the Chiefs were still able to produce a few funny moments.

A year ago, Kelce, who is known for his comedic timing and exuberant personality, made the crowd laugh when he approached the lectern, saying just seven words — “So, I’ve been waiting for this moment …” — before he was gently pushed back by Mahomes to join his teammates on the stage while photographers snapped shots of Biden with a red No. 46 jersey with his last name stitched on the back.

This time, Biden welcomed Kelce to the microphone.

“My fellow Americans … it’s nice to see you all yet again,” Kelce started, leading everyone in the crowd to laugh, including Biden. “I’m not going to lie, President Biden. They told me if I came up here, I’d get tased, so I’m gonna go back to my spot, all right.”

Joining the players on the stage was Reid, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, special teams coordinator Dave Toub, general manager Brett Veach, team president Mark Donovan and club owner Clark Hunt, who missed last year’s ceremony when Norma Hunt, his mother, died the day before the event at age 85.

“Over the past few years, the men behind me have elevated the status of Kansas City and united football fans across the country and throughout the world,” Hunt said of the Chiefs’ earning three Vince Lombardi Trophies in the past five years. “There’s a lot that can divide us today, but for so many of us, sports provide a unifying joy that we all need.”

The 10-minute ceremony ended with Hunt and Reid presenting Biden with the gift of a Chiefs helmet that featured three autographs in black marker from Veach, Reid and Donovan. Within seconds of holding the helmet, Biden was encouraged by Kelce to put the helmet on. Biden obliged, much to the surprise of the players, who responded with loud cheers and laughter. Even Butker smiled and laughed at Biden’s gesture.

With the helmet still on, Biden turned around and put his hands up near the face mask to show Mahomes that he was ready to catch an over-the-shoulder pass.

“We feel blessed to be here,” Reid said after the team’s tour of the White House. “It’s been tremendous. I don’t know how many presidents have tried on your team helmet. This might be a first. It’s history being made.”

Biden’s last act on stage was to spend a few more minutes chatting with Mahomes, shaking the quarterback’s hands several times. Biden left the Rose Garden smiling with his new helmet in his left hand. Mahomes stayed on the stage and took a few seconds to look around.

“Just to get to look out and see the Washington Monument, it’s a cool moment,” Mahomes said. “I appreciate it. Hopefully, we’ll get to come back again. I’ll appreciate every single time.”

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

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