WASHINGTON -- Add this to the lore of championship ceremonies at the White House: President Bush believes in the Jessica Simpson jinx.
Bush, a Texas guy, lauded the New York Giants on Wednesday for winning the Super Bowl. Any football championship is big to the team and its fans, but this one was all the sweeter because it required a riveting, comeback effort against the New England Patriots, who were heavily favored and had not lost all year.
The president noted that along the way the Giants vanquished a team from his home state -- the Dallas Cowboys. Many Dallas fans pinned their team's surprise playoff loss not on the Giants, but on Simpson. Seems the singer-actress was accused of being a distraction to her boyfriend, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
Apparently, Bush bought in.
"I'm a good sport," Bush said at the South Lawn ceremony. "We're going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democrat National Convention."
Everything is political.
The Giants beat the Patriots, 17-14, in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in pro football history.
Even Bush, an early-to-bed leader, stayed up late that February night to watch the Giants pull ahead and hang on.
He didn't skimp on the superlatives. "It turned out to be really one of the great, legendary football games in our nation's history," he said Wednesday.
With players and coaches gathered behind him on a comfortable spring day, Bush praised the team for its resilience. The president gave a detailed recap of the Giants' season, from the shaky start to the road victories to the final game of the regular season, when the Giants lost to the Patriots but gained confidence.
"You won the gratitude of your fans. The New York Giants fans love these Giants," Bush said, drawing a burst of cheers from fans in Giant blue.
Front and center behind Bush was Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who endured enormous scrutiny in New York and emerged as the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
The president, as usual, also thanked the players for their off-the-field volunteer work.
The team visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center earlier in the day. Some star players say that experience moved them even more than hanging out with the president at the White House.
"To see their spirit, and the way they reacted to us, was just very special," said center Shaun O'Hara. "That's going to stick with me."