Barack Obama shows his fandom for Bears as guest on ManningCast

Former President Barack Obama appeared on “Monday Night Football with Peyton & Eli” — aka the ManningCast — on ESPN2 to help the brothers poke fun at each other, implore viewers to vote and talk about his beloved Bears.

The first-quarter appearance was a year in the making. Peyton broached the idea with Obama while playing golf together at The Riviera Country Club in California. With the Bears playing the Patriots on Monday, it was a natural fit.

Obama, who made Chicago his adopted home, hasn’t been shy about his allegiance to the Bears. He welcomed the Super Bowl champion ’85 Bears to the White House in 2011. The team hadn’t visited because of the space shuttle Challenger disaster two days after the Super Bowl.

Peyton jokingly asked if Obama felt guilty that he had welcomed the Super Bowl champion Packers earlier that year.

“It was hard having the Packers in and having to be nice to them,” Obama said. “I moved to Chicago in ’85. You show up in this city, and you’ve got this team that captures everybody’s imagination. The fact that they never got their White House due, I figured, what’s the point of being present if you can’t make up for that?”

Eli later joked about Peyton having 197 plays in the playbook for his 11-year-old son’s football team.

“The problem is, it’s believable that he might actually have 197 plays,” Obama said. “You might not be making this up. My suggestion is similar to my suggestion for the Bears: simplify that offense.”

When the Bears faced first-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Peyton asked Obama what play he’d call.

“Run straight up the middle,” Obama said. “I think their attitude is run it again and make sure we don’t do something too complicated that might lead to a turnover.”

Then quarterback Justin Fields ran off tackle for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

“I’m trying to figure out, have they scored 10 points in the first half in a while? Or in the first quarter?” Obama mused.

Eli asked if Obama’s Chicago sports fandom has been renewed since he left the White House.

“Since I left the White House, we’ve had a little drought pretty much across every sport,” Obama said. “But you look at the Bears, young team, new coach, they’re playing hard. I’m a big believer in you’re loyal all the way through, as long as they’re playing hard, as long as they look like they care, then I’m gonna stick with them and keep rooting for them. Our day will come again. It may take a while.

Obama will be followed by comedian Bill Burr, a Patriots fan, and actor Vince Vaughn, a Bears fan who grew up in Buffalo Grove and graduated from Lake Forest High School.

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