One of Houston’s most famous residents and the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and his wife, Barbara, were at midfield before the start of Super Bowl LI for the coin toss. The Bushes had recently been hospitalized for fatigue, shortness of breath and symptoms of pneumonia.
There was a moment of confusion for George Bush, now 92 year old, and game referee Carl Cheffers. Cheffers shook hands with both Bushes and said it was an honor to have them there; at that point, George Bush seemed to expect that he’d be handed the large ceremonial coin and stuck his hand out:
Instead, Cheffers turned to the captains from both teams to explain which side of the coin was heads and which was tails and to ask New England Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater which side he was calling.
Slater said “tails” and then Cheffers handed the coin to President Bush. It was tails, and the Falcons deferred to the second half.
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