Telephone Conversations With the Super Bowl XVII Coaches in Pasadena, California

January 30, 1983

Mr. Gibbs. Yes, sir?

The President. Hello, coach?

Mr. Gibbs. Yes.

The President. Coach, Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Gibbs. Yes, sir, Mr. Reagan.

The President. Listen, I just want to say congratulations to you and that great team of yours. You know last week when I was trying to be heard -- and I know you couldn't hear me -- --

Mr. Gibbs. I can hear you fine now.

The President. Well, I was just asking if maybe now that the season's over and they've won the championship, they'd like to help me up on Capitol Hill with some of the Congressmen.

Mr. Gibbs. [Laughing] Yes, sir, we're going to come back and try and help you put together the budget and a few other things.

The President. Okay. And there was one thing. Last week -- --

Mr. Gibbs. Mr. Cooke is used to dealing with a lot of money. He'll help you with that.

The President. [Laughing] Okay. Listen, last week I was thinking of asking Riggins if he might, say, change the spelling of his name a little bit so that it had an e-a in it. [Laughter] But now this week, would he mind if I changed my spelling so that it had an i and a couple of g's in it?

Mr. Gibbs. I don't think he'd mind that at all, Mr. President. I don't think he would mind that at all.

The President. Okay. Well again, it was just great, and all of us back here are mighty thrilled and excited.

Mr. Gibbs. Yes, sir. It's a big day for us. All of the Washington fans share in this. Each one of them has a little part of this trophy.

The President. Well, you fellows really earned it, and it was thrilling to watch. And God bless all of you, and congratulations again.

Mr. Gibbs. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you.

The President. You bet.

Mr. Gibbs. Yes, sir.

The President. All right. Bye.


Mr. Shula. Hello.

The President. Hello?

Mr. Shula. Yes.

The President. Coach Shula?

Mr. Shula. Yes.

The President. Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Shula. Hello, Mr. President.

The President. Well, I know that there probably isn't a thing that anyone could say that would make you feel better right now.

Mr. Shula. [Laughing] You're right.

The President. So, I just want to say that, on the other hand, it was a great game and -- --

Mr. Shula. Thank you. The Redskins and the coach, Joe Gibbs, and everybody in that organization -- I congratulate them and the people that have supported them. From the middle of last year on, they were the best team in the National Football League. And they proved it today against us, and, of course, much to my sorrow. And I'm proud of our team for what they've accomplished this year, but we didn't get it done in the second half.

The President. Well, I was going to say to you, you've got every reason to be proud of that team. And all of you have an awful lot of class. And, yes, it's true. Footballs bounce funny sometimes and, believe me, I can have some understanding how you feel because I guess I've played -- my college days, I played in more losing games than winning games all 4 years. So, I know how you feel there. But -- --

Mr. Shula. Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate your call, and I'll pass this on to the squad.

The President. And, say, I have a warm spot in my heart for all of you, but for A. J., in particular, because I just read some things that he said about me and he made me very proud.

Mr. Shula. He's a class young man, and I'm proud to be his coach. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. All right. Good night.

Note: The President placed the telephone calls from the White House to the teams' locker rooms at the Rose Bowl at approximately 9:40 and 9:47 p.m.

In his conversation with Coach Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins, the President referred to Redskins running back John Riggins. Mr. Gibbs referred to Jack Kent Cooke, the team's owner.

During his conversation with Coach Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins, the President referred to Dolphins linebacker A. J. Duhe.

The Washington Redskins won the National Football League championship by a score of 27 to 17.