Political football: Obama, Romney talk sports Monday night

President Obama and Mitt Romney talked sports, not politics, during the halftime of Monday night's game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. Here the Saints' Jimmy Graham is pushed out of bounds by Mychal Kendricks of the Eagles.
(Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

President Obama and Mitt Romney are running for sports fan in chief as well as president and commander in chief and both men got brief auditions during halftime of “Monday Night Football” on election eve.

In an interview with host Chris Berman, Obama heralded the college football playoff system to be instituted in a couple of years — which he had called for while running for president — but said he would like to see the postseason expanded from four teams to eight teams.

Romney said the biggest problem facing sports in general was performance-enhancing drugs and that there needed to be a change in the culture “that says using performance-enhancing drugs is acceptable. It is simply not.”


Obama’s taped interview came up first during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints.

Obama said one comparison between sports and politics “has to do with staying focused, and it has to do with not getting distracted by either your own hype or the critics.” He then took a mild swipe at the media. “You know, it’s interesting, political reporters are a lot like sports reporters — you know, you lose a game and you’re a bum, you win a game and you’re a god.

“And the truth is, just like in sports, in politics we are all human. We make mistakes, sometimes we perform well. But the key is to just stay focused on what you are doing. In sports, it’s about winning championships. Interesting, in politics, it’s not winning elections, it’s making sure you are delivering for the folks who sent you.”

Obama said his hometown Chicago Bears, with what he called “the best defense in the league right now,” are good enough to win a Super Bowl championship.

When his turn to speak came, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said he was a New England Patriots fan.

“I have lived in New England 40 years now and I take personal, full responsibility for their two Super Bowl wins,” Romney quipped, “as well as the Red Sox winning the World Series.”

The candidate paused and added: “Hey, look, as governor you get blamed for everything that goes wrong. You might as well get credit for what goes right.”

Romney also talked about his time running the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. He said the athletes there had taught him about the power of perseverance, patriotism and other winning qualities.

Twitter: @latimesrainey