President Toasts Super Bowl Champion Giants, and Gets Popcorn Dunking
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Reagan swapped quips with the New York Giants Friday, saluting the National Football League champions as ″true representatives of a great and grand football tradition.″
In the packed East Room of the White House, Reagan stood before the players and singled out many for their heroics during the season, and accepted two football jerseys and a replica of the Super Bowl ring.
″Boy, they’re going to be big when they get as old as I am,″ the president mused as he finished greeting the players, club owner Wellington Mara and Vice President and General Manager George Young.
Referring to linebacker Harry Carson’s penchant for drenching Coach Bill Parcells with Gatorade toward the end of Giant victories, Reagan deadpanned, ″Nancy was going to invite you to my birthday party last week, but when I mentioned the way you liked to celebrate, she said she didn’t think that wearing Gatorade was presidential.″
In giving Reagan the replica of the ring, Carson said, ″I had to talk some of my teammates out of dunking you.″
Moments after the ceremony ended and Reagan was getting ready for a helicopter trip to Camp David, Md., the president came down the steps of the South Portico carrying a bucket full of popcorn, walked over to Carson and dumped the popcorn on him. Carson returned the favor, picking up the bucket and hoisting popcorn toward the president.
During the ceremony, Reagan likened the 1986-87 Giants to the championship teams of the 1950s, saying, ″No one who saw your performance during those close games in the middle of the season and your overpowering victories in the playoffs and the Super Bowl can doubt″ that.
At one point the president slipped, indicating he may have had the Iran- Contra affair on his mind.
″The New York Giants played great football this year, but they also had fun,″ he said. ″That’s why our fans have been so, or your fans, I should say, have been loyal for so many years. I don’t have many fans any more.″
This brought a roar of laughter and some applause from the audience.
Parcells did not attend the ceremony because of ″a family commitment,″ Reagan said.
The Giants compiled a 17-2 regular season and playoff record, including their 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 25, in which quarterback Phil Simms was named the Most Valuable Player.