On Wednesday, the New England Patriots became the first team to visit the Donald Trump White House following a championship and a mini firestormerupted when photos suggested that the number of players in attendance was drastically fewer than when the Patriots visited Barack Obama in 2015.
The contrast in photos was quickly explained by the Patriots to the New York Times when they noted that the 2015 photo included support staff making it appear like a much larger contingent.
The Patriots said 34 players visited the White House this year. That is still down considerably from the estimated 50 players who visited Obama in 2015, but that too can be explained, at least in part, by the timing of the Super Bowl (cont. below).
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Patriots spokesperson Stacey James told the New York Times that "one reason substantially fewer players showed up this time as compared to 2015 was that some veteran players did not see the need to go twice in three years."
As we can see above, a similar pattern emerged in 2004 and 2005 when substantially fewer players showed up to the White House as compared to the 2002 visit following the franchise's first Super Bowl win. In other words, while politics certainly played a role for some, others may have simply had a been-there-done-that attitude.