The State of the Union — it’s like the Super Bowl for political junkies. It’s a long-standing tradition steeped in history. The president leads the first string on the field, but it’s a few clutch MVPs who really keep things in motion.

Here are just a few…

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s grimace in 2010:

George W. Bush’s post-9/11 “Axis of Evil” in 2002:

Or how about LBJ’s uber-successful “War on Poverty”?

The Washington Post highlights more unique moments in State of the Union history:

President Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of delivering the State of the Union address in-person to Congress, simply forwarding his comments on paper for the clerks of the House and Senate to read.

Before him, presidents George Washington and John Adams had read their annual addresses to Congress, just like Obama plans to do.

President Woodrow Wilson picked up where the first two presidents left off, restarting the tradition of the in-person address in 1913. Commanders in chief have delivered their speeches that way ever since.

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