Following a tough game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs to claim the title of the champions of Super Bowl LV on Sunday, Feb. 7. Now that the dust has settled on the win, you might be wondering if the Buccaneers will go to the White House, as has been tradition in the past. With President Joe Biden now in the Oval office, here's why it's still up in the air whether the 2021 Super Bowl winners will take part in the annual honor.
You might remember that last year's winners, the Kansas City Chiefs, did not make a trip to Washington, D.C. despite an invitation from former President Trump. Shortly after their win, the then-POTUS said during a news conference on Feb. 6, 2020, "By the way, your Super Bowl champions are coming, I think next week. Soon. Very soon. And every one of them wants to be here. And the coach loves us. The coach is great. Andy Reid."
While head coach Reid and several of the players, including tight end Travis Kelce and cornerback Bashaud Breeland, said they were excited about a potential visit at the time, it never materialized and an official date was never set.
During a March 2020 interview with Yahoo Sports, quarterback Patrick Mahomes said that while it was an "incredible opportunity," the team had to make a decision that would represent them in "the right way."
"Obviously, keeping the politics out of it — it’s an incredible opportunity that you see growing up with teams that win championships, getting invited to the White House and just being invited to the White House in general," he said at the time. "But that’s something that I will talk about with my guys and really make the right decision that represents us, represents Kansas City and the Chiefs in the right way. That’s the decision we’ll make, hopefully, as we get closer to OTAs and everyone’s on the same page."
While the two previous Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots in 2019 and 2017 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, also didn't make the trip to the White House during President Trump's first term, that might not change now that President Biden is in office. After a particularly contentious presidential election, it wouldn't be surprising if the Tampa Buccaneers decide to follow recent precedent and not bring the Lombardi Trophy to the capitol for the fourth year in a row.
In 2015 and 2017, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady didn't go to the White House during both President Obama and President Trump's terms. Brady, who was friendly with Trump, said he would be skipping out on the most recent visit due to "personal family matters." Last time Tampa won in 2003 during President George W. Bush's presidency, the team did not go to the White House either.
Politics aside, there's still the question of whether the champions would partake in the annual tradition amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Considering that President Biden held his inauguration as a largely virtual event, it's likely that if he held ceremony at all, it would be a small one or celebrated online — which some could argue would defeat the purpose of a White House visit in the first place.
During an interview on CBS's Super Bowl pregame show, Biden said that while both players were "great quarterbacks," he was keeping his eye on Mahomes during the game. "Obviously, Brady is a great quarterback," he said when asked which quarterback he'd rather have throw to him. "Mahomes seems like he's got a lot of potential and so I'd probably take a shot with the young guy."
President Biden has yet to officially invite the Buccaneers to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, so fans will have to keep an eye out to see if the POTUS speaks out on the possibility of bringing the tradition back to the White House.