The White House echoed with chants of "Here we go Steelers! Here we go!" on Friday as President Bush recognized the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

"It sounds like some people have been drinking some Iron City beer here," Bush joked after walking into the East Room where the team was assembled.

"I was a Texas Cowboy fan, you know, Dallas Cowboy fan," Bush told them.

"It's kind of hard for me to admit, but the Steeler franchise is one of the really great franchises in football history."

The team gave Bush a jersey emblazoned with "43" to represent Bush's position in presidential history, and a football signed by team members. The president threw a short pass to Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, joked with players, and said Vice President Dick Cheney asked him to get some tips on the trademark scowl that Steelers coach Bill Cowher often wears on the sidelines.

"They may have some interesting characters on the team, but one thing the Pittsburgh Steelers learned to do was play as a unit, and that's why you're standing right here," Bush said.

About halfway through the season, some people were counting the Steelers out, Bush said.

"They said you didn't have a chance," Bush deadpanned. "I kind of know the feeling."