Bill Clinton and Peyton Manning recently had a charming chat. The talk perfectly blended football and politics, two of the most passionate topics that can launch never-ending arguments.
Manning, the legendary quarterback, hosts a documentary series for ESPN called “Peyton’s Places.” The episode with Bill Clinton, a two-term U.S. president, airs tonight. The two were in West Point, New York, to explore the history of the forward pass.
But in a clip released Sunday morning by ESPN, the two discussed the NFL draft and former presidents. Puzzled? The question Payton Manning posed to Bill Clinton concerned which president he’d pick for a football draft.
Got any ideas?
Peyton Manning did. He kicked off the discussion with William Howard Taft, the 27th president who also became the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Why the high draft pick for Taft? It’s all about the heft.
“Taft should be in the offensive line,” Clinton told Manning. “He was the heaviest (president) we ever had. He was so big he got stuck in a bathtub. … Taft might be able to anchor a whole side of the line. You could run unbelievable pass plays off (his blocking).
Wait, Is That Tub Story True?
Here’s where we step in and say fake news. History is unclear on the Taft bathtub debacle. However, Taft loved custom made, giant-sized bathtubs. One such tub was big enough for four men. Workers installed a 7-foot long tub in the White House when Taft took office. The tub was 41 inches wide.
Bill Clinton didn’t mention Taft’s specific height and weight. Taft looked like an aging NFL nose guard. He was a shade under 6 feet and weighed 340 pounds.
Need some more Taft tub trivia? In 1915, Taft was staying at a hotel that didn’t have a bigger tub. He didn’t anticipate how much splash he would make getting in and out of the tub. There was so much water, it leaked through the floor. The water then dripped on guests sitting in the downstairs dining room.
Next Pick? Bill Clinton, You’re Back On The Clock
After Taft, who is pick No. 2?
“You got to have to have (Barack) Obama because he’s the youngest and fittest,” Clinton said, explaining that you had to draft presidents based on the skills they had while in office.
Obama makes sense, too. ESPN showed clips of Obama catching passes from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. And there was a clip of Obama striking the Heisman pose with the Air Force Academy football team. Obama also struck the famous stiff-arm pose with Alabama running back Derrick Henry.
And Bill Clinton rounded out his draft picks with Ronald Reagan. The choice wasn’t based on Reagan’s athletic skills.
“You want Reagan in there just for the locker room speech,” Bill Clinton said. “Even though he was 70, when he was elected. he could give a heckuva locker room speech.”
Lots of folks called Reagan “the Gipper.” Long before Reagan thought seriously about politics, he worked as an actor. His first big role was playing famous Notre Dame football player George Gipp in the 1940 movie “Knute Rockne – All-American.” In the movie, Reagan, from the character’s death bed, pleaded with his teammates to “win one for the Gipper.”
And that’s the Bill Clinton presidential draft.