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Broncos savor their day at White House with President Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. --The cadence heard in the Rose Garden late Monday afternoon was familiar, but the voice delivering it sounded just a tad different.

"Omaha! 44 is Mike! Bags Montana!"

When Peyton Manning barked, "Omaha!" in a game, his teammates knew what to do. But when President Obama said it, the reaction was a bit different.


"It doesn't seem to work as well for me," he said, smiling.

With that, the ceremony to honor the Super Bowl 50 champions was under way.

Of course, when it comes to football teams, President Obama doesn't play the political pandering game. He is a die-hard, blue-and-orange-bleeding, Halas-and-Payton-revering, Chicago Bears supporter.

So you know there was one game last year where the President was pulling against the Broncos. And you know which defense he feels is the best of all-time -- the legendary unit of the 1985 Bears that propelled them to their only Super Bowl win.

But his love of the Bears ensures that he knows a great defense when he sees it.

From interacting with Wounded Warriors to meeting the president of the United States, the Broncos' visit to the White House was a memorable experience. (photos by Ben Swanson

"Now, I'm a Bears fan. Nineteen-eighty-five was pretty good; [John] Elway remembers," he said.

"But I've got to admit: This one was pretty good, too."

But more than just a defense as suffocating as the D.C. humidity received one of the most delicious morsels of its victory Monday with its trip to the White House, a private V.I.P. tour and a chance for players and coaches to meet President Obama.

The offense got its due, too.

"There was an offense that always seemed to come up big when it needed to," Obama said, name-dropping C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.

Then Obama mentioned "the heart and soul of this team's offensive firepower."

The next words out of his mouth? "Kicker Brandon McManus," to the laughter of the audience of Broncos staff members, media representatives, Colorado-based Congressional officials and soldiers who attended via the Wounded Warrior Project.

"And then there's this guy from the commercials," the President said, smiling.

"It doesn't matter whether you need insurance, pizza or a Buick! You can stock your whole household with stuff this guy is selling. You know where to turn. It's Peyton Manning!"

Before the ceremony, Obama met with each player. He said the retired Manning offered him advice about what to do when his second and final Presidential term ends next Jan. 20.

"He said, 'You should try it, don't overstay your welcome,'" Obama said. "I have term limits. I have no choice."

But when Obama leaves for his post-Presidential life, he'll have some priceless mementos, including the ones the Broncos gave him Monday: a signed helmet and a personalized No. 44 jersey, in honor of being the 44th President.

No. 44 has a special place in Broncos history, of course; the jersey is retired for Floyd Little. But it looked good on Obama, too, even though his athletic days are behind him.

"It's been a while since I ran a 4.4 40," Obama joked.

That easy sense of humor gave him a quick connection with the players he honored Monday.

"President Obama is my type of guy," linebacker Von Miller said. "He would fit in the locker room with us any day."

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