“Help us welcome two special guests,” the announcer said as the former president and first lady emerged.
President Bush tossed the coin, which landed on tails. The Atlanta Falcons won the choice, and elected to defer the choice to the second half.
Many did not expect to see the couple out following their hospitalization at Houston Methodist Hospital just three weeks prior.
The former president had been transferred to the intensive care unit to “address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia.” The former first lady was also admitted “as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.”
Both were treated and eventually released. The Bushes were unable to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20 due to his poor health. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush were present to witness the transfer of power from Barack Obama to Trump.
The elder Bush looked forward to the toss, tweeting a gif of a spinning coin on Wednesday with the caption, “Getting fired up for Sunday and #SuperBowl.”
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) February 1, 2017
It’s not the first time Bush has performed the coin toss at the NFL championship. In 2002, he became the first president to participate in a Super Bowl coin toss in person. He’s performed the toss at several football games since.
The 41st president, 92, uses a wheelchair for mobility after revealing he had a form of Parkinsons several years ago. Mrs. Bush — wearing her trademark pearls — rode in a cart, but stepped off of it for the toss.
The Bushes were loudly cheered by the crowd during their appearance, including by Vice President Mike Pence. Houston is where they reside.
Watch the coin toss here or below.
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2017
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, whose father Bill Clinton followed Bush in the White House, tweeted this nice message.
So happy to see President George H.W. Bush & Mrs. Bush looking so healthy & strong #SuperBowl
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 5, 2017
“So happy to see President George H.W. Bush & Mrs. Bush looking so healthy & strong #SuperBowl,” Clinton wrote.