Giants visit White House, and like Obama, they look forward to repeating
WASHINGTON -- At one point during his speech on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, Tom Coughlin turned to President Barack Obama. "We both have a goal to get back here next year," the coach said.
The Giants were honored at the White House as Super Bowl champions, a fete, they said, that was the final celebration of their title. From now on, it's focusing on 2012 with a minicamp and practices.
Of course, Obama has his own challenges to overcome to repeat in 2012. "He's got a big season," said Eli Manning, who presented Obama, the 44th president of the United States, with a blue Giants jersey with the number 44 on the back. "He's working hard right now. He's in training camp right now and getting ready."
This isn't the first time many of these Giants have been to the White House. Four years ago, they celebrated another Super Bowl victory and were greeted by President George W. Bush.
"You guys have been through this drill before," Obama told them before running through the parallels of the 2007 and 2011 seasons. "This is all starting to sound like déjà vu all over again."
Which is just the way the Giants like it. "A few short years ago, I said that I hoped that this experience was not a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Coughlin said. "Now I'm saying that I hope, Mr. President, it's not a twice-in-a-lifetime experience."
Defensive end Justin Tuck said he never thought he would have only one visit to the White House. "Honestly, I thought we'd have the opportunity to repeat and do it again," he said. "You try your best to enjoy the moment and not really get caught up in coming back . . . When you're here, you don't want to try to even think about anything like that. You think about enjoying the time you get the opportunity to spend here."
In recounting the Giants' accomplishments, Obama called out a few players by name. He mentioned -- questioned, really -- Tuck's choice in music for choosing to have the pregame highlight film set to "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. "I might send him something," Tuck said of possibly making a mix tape for the president. "Something with a little Phil Collins, Journey, stuff like that."
Victor Cruz, who has done work on behalf of Obama's campaign and said he will work on voter registration in Florida this summer, also was mentioned by name by the president. "It was crazy, man," Cruz said. "Just to be at the White House and meeting the president, it was just one of those experiences that I will never let go."