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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 13, 2005

President Congratulates Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots
The Rose Garden

3:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Welcome. Well, back again. (Laughter.) I was thinking that Coach Belichick was so comfortable coming to the Rose Garden that he might just wear one of those designer sweatshirts. (Laughter.) I'm a little disappointed. (Laughter.) I'm glad to see you own a tie, though.

I want to welcome --

COACH BELICHICK: Is this a roast? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I want to welcome the Krafts back. Congratulations, once again. Obviously, this club has got fine ownership, and you know how to run a team. Welcome back. And, obviously, you know how to coach. I'm pretty impressed with the way you handle yourself. I think some of us involved in the political arena could -- could spend a little time getting tutelage on how to handle the mike like you do. (Laughter.)

I want to welcome members of my Cabinet who are here. Thank you for coming. Alfonso, I thought, like you're a Cowboy fan or something? What are you doing here, you know? (Laughter.)

The Secretary of Agriculture is with us. We appreciate so very much Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry. Welcome. Marty Meehan -- I'm glad you all are here. Thanks for coming. I'm surprised more of the delegation hasn't come, but, you know, Red Sox one week, Patriots the next -- it's getting to be old hat here. But glad you all are here.

Tedy Bruschi, it's good to see you. I congratulate you on showing such incredible courage on the field and off the field. There's a lot of people that were praying for you, I know. And I'm glad you're feeling good and I'm glad you're back. You look great. (Applause.)

I want to welcome all the staff, the coaches who are here. Last time I didn't pay much attention to the managers and the people passing out the equipment, so I'd like to pay special tribute to the people who do all the work in the locker room and probably never get recognized except by the players, who love you. So, welcome to the White House, and welcome to the Rose Garden.

I want to say a special welcome to all the Patriots fans from around the D.C. area. I see some from New Hampshire who have come, as well, and Boston, and you're welcome. Glad you're here. You're honoring a team that showed a lot of heart.

You know, the commentators would say, well, they're not the flashiest bunch, they're not the fanciest bunch, they just happen to be the best team. They're the team that showed that when you play together, when you serve something greater than yourself, you win.

I'm sorry your field goal kicker is not here. You're probably sorry you didn't have to use him this year to win. But I do wish Adam all the best with the birth of their second child. He has got an excused absence.

One of the things about this club is you set a lot of records. You know, in sports, they always talk about records are made to be broken. Let me talk about some of the records of the New England Patriots. In back-to-back championship seasons, you've won 34 games. That's a record. You've won nine straight playoff games, which ties a record. The coach has the best playoff record in league history. This is a club that has won 20 games in a row in the home park. If you're going to win 20 games, it's probably good to do it in your home stadium, you know. It tends to make the fans want to come back -- doesn't it, Marty?

I appreciate the inspiration you've shown for the region -- inspired the Red Sox. I think the Patriots have also inspired the Celtics. But whatever is happening in New England, it's a pretty strong sports record, anchored by the great New England Patriots, champs three out of four years.

And so, welcome back. We're glad you're here. I want to thank you for what you've done off the field. I did so the last time you were here, I want to do it again. I want to thank you for the importance that you've shown for education and literacy. I appreciate the example that you've set for kids. I want to thank you for working in youth football. I want to thank you for supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Massachusetts. There's nothing better than encouraging mentoring to help save a child's life. And as a pro football champion, you have an opportunity to do just that.

I appreciate Larry Izzo. He went to Rice, as I understand it. Is that right? Yes, Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Guess what he did? He went overseas, to the USO -- the Pat Tillman USO in Afghanistan. (Applause.) I want to thank you for doing that. Is it Izzo or "Eyezo?"

MR. IZZO: Izzo.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, if you're from Texas, you say "Eyezo," and if you're from -- (laughter.)

MR. IZZO: It sounds good to me.

THE PRESIDENT: If you're from Massachusetts, it's Izzo. At least I got Rice right. (Laughter.)

I also want to thank you all for going by Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center here in Washington. I think you saw firsthand the definition of courage when you saw those young soldiers who had been wounded that are working hard to overcome their injuries. I can assure you that your visit helped lift their spirits. There's nothing better than a Super Bowl champ encouraging somebody to continue to work hard to recover. And I want to, again, thank you for that. Thank you for your example.

I, once again, welcome you back. You know, I think I said last time there's a chance you'll be back. I wasn't sure about me. (Laughter.) I'm confident I'll be back next year -- (laughter) -- and the way you've been playing, there's a good chance you will be, too. Congratulations, and welcome. (Applause.)

END 3:41 P.M. EDT

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