National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide Visit President Trump at White House

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 10, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 for the national title. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

At the beginning of January, the Alabama Crimson Tide completed a thrilling 26-23 comeback win in overtime over the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and they visited the White House and President Donald Trump on Tuesday to celebrate.    

Alabama Football @AlabamaFTBL

#RollTide https://t.co/fBpfn4iHRQ

As the players were being escorted around the White House, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa posted a picture on Twitter of Alabama's director of sports medicine, Jeff Allen, looking at his hand:

Tua. T 🇦🇸 @Tuaamann_

Even at the @WhiteHouse we’re still finding ways to get better. No one better at it than @makennahsdad.. Appreciate you https://t.co/4wXVUgDy5i

Tagovailoa suffered a sprained thumb during a team practice last month, though AL.com's Matt Zenitz noted the sophomore star "should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon."

Once the official ceremony began on the South Lawn, Trump joked about how LSU let Tide head coach Nick Saban leave after the 2004 season, per SEC Country's Marq Burnett:

Marq Burnett @Marq_Burnett

President Donald Trump to Nick Saban: “Was it five or six (national championships)? I thought it was six.” Saban: “Five here and one at LSU.” Trump: “They shouldn’t have let you go, coach. They’re thinking about that.”

In the Tigers' defense, Saban chose to leave the school to take over as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Alabama is certainly happy things didn't work out for the 66-year-old in the NFL, as it's won five national titles since 2009. 

Trump also referenced his presence at the national title game, noting things looked bleak for the Crimson Tide early. 

"I was watching. I said coach, 'not looking too good,'" he said, per Dr. Saturday's Nick Bromberg.

Alabama trailed 20-7 midway through the third quarter before scoring 13 unanswered points to force overtime. After Georgia took a 23-20 lead on the first possession of the extra period, DeVonta Smith received a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa on the Tide's second play to give them the win. 

Per Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post, Trump didn't stay on Air Force One to watch overtime:

Josh Dawsey @jdawsey1

We landed at Andrews just as Alabama missed the game winning field goal. Trump is not staying on the plane to watch overtime.

Trump did note he saw the final play of the game as he was addressing the team Tuesday. 

"On the very next play, Tua dropped back to pass, launched a ball from near midfield—I was watching—and the entire country watched as arms lifted up and Devonta Smith caught that ball for the win," he said, per Bromberg. "And that was an amazing win."

Saban and the Crimson Tide presented Trump with a No. 17 jersey, commemorating the number of national championships claimed by the school, via Politico's Cristiano Lima:

Cristiano Lima @viaCristiano

"I love this, wow," Trump says as he receives traditional team jersey, helmet and poses for pictures with Alabama team https://t.co/pQc9mrpSTe

Trump responded by throwing out Alabama's catchphrase, per Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network:

Paul Finebaum @finebaum

"Roll Tide" - @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/JeMyQ0ZSAM

Just to prove that Saban never stops working, CNN's Kaitlan Collins shared this piece of information from the Tide head coach:

Kaitlan Collins @kaitlancollins

Nick Saban tells me he called recruits from the White House.

If you're going to make a recruiting pitch, doing so when being honored for winning a national title is certainly one of the best ways. 

With Alabama's 2017 celebration now behind everyone, Saban and his staff will get to work on preparing the team to defend its title and earn another trip to Washington, D.C., next year.