George W. Bush photo

Remarks Honoring the 2002 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots

April 02, 2002

The President. I'm honored to welcome the Super Bowl champ Patriots to the Rose Garden. I want to thank their owner, Bob Kraft, for his leadership. And of course, I want to thank their coach. Coach Bill has brought a lot of organization and clarity of purpose to this organization. I can remember when they were down on you a little bit—I know how you feel. [Laughter]

As a matter of fact, the Patriots learned an interesting lesson. I remember watching all the experts talk about the Super Bowl. No one thought they'd win. They learned what I learned, that in politics and sports, the experts are often wrong.

I was really impressed by the character of this team. Most of all—I obviously watched the game—I was amazed at the play and how they won. For a guy growing up in Texas, that snow game looked pretty rough. [Laughter] But I know all the Patriot fans were thrilled with that game and the Super Bowl. I know you've got some great fans here.

Obviously, Members of the Congress are great fans. It's good to see Senator Kennedy, Senator Jeffords, who are here. I don't know if any Members of the Congress are here as well, but I want to thank you both for coming.

I was impressed by a lot, but let me tell you what impressed me most was when the team took the field prior to the Super Bowl. It wasn't one of these things where the spotlight was on any individual; everybody went out at the same time. I thought that was a pretty good signal to America that teamwork is important, that the individual matters to the team, but the team is bigger than the individual. That's one of the things I try to explain to people in Washington, that we're here to serve something greater than ourself. And I appreciated so very much that signal to the country.

I remember watching the early Patriots there in Houston, when they came down to the AFL. And I remember Gino Cappelletti. And Gino Cappelletti said this about this team—I think you probably remember Gino Cappelletti, don't you, Senator Kennedy? You were around in those days—[laughter]—barely, but around. "I think every guy that ever played for the Patriots would be proud of this bunch. They are not only a team with great heart and toughness; they're also a good group of guys. They were champs on the field and, more importantly, champs off the field"—by sending not only a clear message about the importance of teamwork but about the importance of serving something greater than yourself in life, whether it be the Salvation Army in the Boston area or after-school programs so some child realizes somebody cares about them or how they conduct their own home life—is just as important to me and America, for that matter, than winning on the football field. So it's an honor to welcome true football champs but, as well, really fine Americans to the Rose Garden.


[At this point, Robert Kraft, chairman and owner, and Bill Belichick, head coach, made brief remarks and presented the President with a team jersey and an autographed football.]

The President. I appreciate that. Thank you, sir. That is short. [Laughter] Congratulations. Congratulations to you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:25 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to retired Patriots player Gino Cappelletti. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Mr. Kraft and Mr. Belichick.

George W. Bush, Remarks Honoring the 2002 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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