President Obama makes the coin toss before the 112th Army-Navy football… (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters )
President Obama played coin-flipper, color commentator and spectator as he attended his first Army-Navy game as commander-in-chief Saturday.
The 112th meeting of the two service academies was played for the first time in the Washington area, drawing not only the president but also Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Obama flipped a special Ronald Reagan centennial coin to determine home field advantage before the game. It came up tails, as called for by the Army captains.
The president later spent a few moments in the CBS Sports broadcast booth, noting the great tradition of the rivalry game.
"As important as sports are, these guys are going to be in life-or-death situations voluntarily, protecting our country. They're going to be on the same team," he said. "It constantly makes you grateful for being here in America and these incredible young people. They are the best we have to offer."
Obama, a known hoops fan, was asked which college team he's rooted for. While in Chicago he said the University of Illinois, but that since coming to Washington, "most Saturday's I'm working." He's been known to play some golf on Saturdays too.
What about playing?
"I played football in ninth grade and then I realized that I was built more for basketball," he said.
Ever the politician, Obama was watching the first half on the Navy side of the field, and was going to move over to watch the second half with Army cadets.
The president is set to travel to Ft. Bragg, N.C.., this week to address the troops as the nation prepares to end its nearly nine year war in Iraq.