At the conclusion of the brief ceremony, Obama was presented with a No. 72 Dolphins jersey signed by the members of the team. The name on the back read “Undefeated.”
While it is common for champions of the major American sports leagues to visit the White House today, the practice was not yet in place when the Dolphins stormed to a 17-0 record capped by a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl.
Not every member of the team was in attendance. In addition to several players and coaches who have died, three members of the team refused to attend due to their opposition to the administration.
Jim Langer, the team’s center and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, told the Miami Sun-Sentinel “We’ve got some real moral compass issues in Washington ... I don’t want to be in a room with those people and pretend I’m having a good time. I can’t do that.”
Langer was joined in his boycott by defensive lineman Manny Fernandez and guard Bob Kuechenberg. Kuechenberg remarked that “I just don’t believe in this administration at all. So I don’t belong.”