So why now honor the 1972 Miami Dolphins?
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"I wanted to be the young guy up here for once," Obama said.
The players, led by quarterback Bob Griese, stood behind Obama in matching green blazers; the coaches, including Don Shula (in a wheelchair), wore gold jackets.
"Some of them are a little bit harder to recognize these days," Obama joked. "They don't have the Afros, the muttonchops, the Fu Manchus."
Obama said he had to explain the impact of the team to his thirtysomething staffers, and at the Aug. 20 ceremony he recounted accomplishments and antics of the time as Larry Csonka and the others looked on.
The White House didn't begin inviting championship teams to the White House until 1980. Obama had hosted his hometown Chicago Bears because the 1985 team's trip was canceled because of the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
Obama noted that the players went on to interesting new titles like mayor, doctor, high school counselor and state lawmaker. Some apparently went on to become Republicans. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that three players skipped the ceremony because they disagree with Obama's politics.
Photo: Pete Souza/White House
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