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For Children in Diriamba, Patriots Super Bowl Loss Equals a Win

DIRIAMBA – It may not have been the Super Bowl celebration that New England fans wanted to see, but the Patriots championship T-shirt and cap giveaway last week in this small village in Diriamba put a smile on the faces of hundreds of school kids and their families.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, in conjunction with the NFL and Reebok, donated several hundred New England Patriots Super Bowl Champions, “Perfect Season, 19-0,” T-shirts and caps to this rural Nicaraguan village. The officially licensed clothing – made for the players to wear on the field after the game – was the first batch of thousands more shirts and hats that are being sent to World Vision from major clothing retailers and sporting outlets in the New England area.

According to NFL regulations, the losing team’s “championship” apparel cannot be sold in the United States. World Vision, therefore, donates the clothing to those in need in underdeveloped countries, rather than incinerate millions of dollars worth of championship apparel, which is made for both teams before the game to go on sale immediately afterwards.

The amount of Patriots clothing made before this year’s XLII Super Bowl, which was won in an upset by the New York Giants, is estimated to be valued at upwards of $4 million, according to World Vision. While many of the shirts and caps will be donated to the World Vision development project in Nicaragua, the winter jackets and ski caps will be donated to a similar World Vision site in Romania.

Gathered in the village’s schoolyard, the young students lined up to collect either a Tshirt or a cap.

The caps were the big favorite, since the Tshirts, sizes 2XL-4XL, were made for enormous, 310-pound nose tackles, and looked like panchos on the children.

The smaller-sized shirts will be in the next batch sent down in the coming months, according to World Vision.

Since 1994,World Vision has been accepting official Super Bowl gear from the losing team and donating it to those in need around the world.

“The NFL and its partners entrust these goods to World Vision because our distribution system and long-term presence in impoverished communities make us a reliable bridge to those in greatest need,” said Richard Stearns,World Vision president.

“World Vision helps us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste,” said David Krichavsky, NFL Director of Community Relations, in a press release. “We are pleased to find a good home for clothing by getting it to those who need it most.”

In 2007, the combined value of goods donated by Reebok, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and the Sports Authority was approximately $2.5 million.

After last year’s Super Bowl game, a significant portion of the losing Chicago Bears apparel was distributed in Zambia in southern Africa. Other countries receiving Bears shirts included Chad, Chile, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Romania, and Zimbabwe.


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