In White House Super Bowl ceremony, a picture lies

Gisele Bündchen shares link to Trump protest on day Tom Brady skips White House visitMore

Gisele Bündchen shares link to Trump protest on day Tom Brady skips White House visitMore

"In 2017, they were seated on the south lawn". ".This year, for some odd reason, the question was being asked at the Super Bowl before the game was played".

"Fact - In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs".

According to the team, the comparison photo suggests a significantly smaller turnout for Trump's celebration.

The New York Times sports division on Wednesday tweeted out photos of both events, writing, "Patriots' turnout for President Obama in 2015 vs. Patriots' turnout for President Trump today".

The Patriots disputed the claim, saying the photos "lack context". Several other players also opted to skip the event, with some citing Trump's political views as the reason. In the 2015 photo, two staircases are filled with men, whereas the photo with Trump shows empty staircases.

Another group of players - running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Alan Branch and tight end Martellus Bennett - boycotted the ceremony because of Trump's policies. Seen together, it would appear that a much larger crowd came to greet Obama, as opposed to Trump.

Related: Rob Gronkowski crashes Press Sec. That is still down considerably from the estimated 50 players who visited Obama in 2015, but that too can be explained, at least in part, by the timing of the Super Bowl (cont. below).

"Patriots say (number) of players was smaller this year than 2015, but total delegation was roughly the same", the publication wrote.

Though numerous Super Bowl champions also skipped the White House visit in past years (including Brady, who was not in attendance in 2015), the Patriots' earlier connections to Trump meant particular scrutiny this time around.

Brady is a longtime friend of Trump, and said in the early days of the Republican's election campaign previous year he hoped his golfing buddy would win the election against political rival Hillary Clinton.