Alabama’s trip to the White House on Wednesday afternoon was its fourth in seven years, meaning the Crimson Tide have been greeted by the same host each time: Barack Obama.
The President made light of that fact during his congratulatory speech.
“Clearly, I’ve brought you some good luck,” Obama said. “In fact, you can call me ‘O-Bama.'”
Here were some of the other highlights:
- Obama welcomed the team with sarcasm. “My first question is: Coach, what took you so long?” he asked. “It’s been three whole years since I last saw you.”
- Alabama governor Robert Bentley, various members of the Alabama delegation, University of Alabama president Stuart Bell and Alabama athletic director Bill Battle were all in attendance.
- Obama described Saban as “somebody who’s in the running to be the greatest college football coach of all time.”
- He added that Alabama’s fourth national title in seven seasons is like “winning a best-of-seven series, except you’re playing 127 teams around the country. The last time a team went on this kind of run was in the 1940s. Back then, folks were still wearing leather helmets. I don’t feel like anybody in a leather helmet would do too well to try to tackle Derrick Henry — of course, even with modern helmets, they didn’t do too well tackling Derrick Henry.”
- Obama reminded the audience of Henry’s appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, where the pair struck matching Heisman poses. “His looked a little more intimidating than mine,” the President said.
- Obama made note of Alabama’s All-Americans, including linebacker Reggie Ragland, “who returned for his senior year to make good on the pledge he made to his momma to get a degree. Just because he’s big doesn’t mean he’s not scared of his momma.”
- Alabama’s surprise onside kick against Clemson was “one of the few times you ever saw coach Saban smile on the sideline,” according to Obama. “You know it was a good night if coach Saban was smiling.”
- The President got in a dig at the Tide’s in-state rivals, too. “Maybe Auburn fans don’t want to admit it,” Obama said, “but everybody recognizes excellence when they see it, and nobody’s had more sustained excellence as a football program at the collegiate level than the Alabama Crimson Tide.”
What’s next? Saban will begin preparing his team for spring practice, with the annual A-Day scrimmage set for April 16.
Check out SEC Country’s spring football preview series here.