In a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of the tough political climate he faces, President Barack Obama joked with reporters Friday that he would need to wear a football helmet during next Wednesday's State of the Union address.

The president was touring a Ridell sporting goods factory in Elyria, Ohio, where employees gave him a custom-made blue football helmet.

I'll "need this during the State of the Union," Obama joked of the protective gear, which featured a presidential seal on the side and the number 44 on the back.

Admiring the gift, he said, "That is a serious looking helmet. I can knock some heads with this."
Obama said he might also wear the helmet when he watches this weekend's NFL conference championship games.

"You have to drink beer through a straw," he quipped, before cracking up at his own joke.