Somewhere in a poor part of Nicaragua or Romania, a man, woman or child is wearing a piece of clothing unavailable in the U.S. It says, “19-0: World Champion New England Patriots.” Elsewhere in the developing world, someone still has a snazzy shirt from the 2006 Super Bowl champion Bears, 1991 Buffalo Bills or the 2007 World Series champion Colorado Rockies.
This bizarre world, where losers magically become winners, is the result of agreements where pro sports leagues give to overseas charities the gear that would have been sold if … if the Patriots or Bears won the Super Bowl, for example.
Several hundred poor Nicaraguan kids will be outfitted in Patriots 19-0 Super Bowl Champs T-shirts and hats, according to the Nica Times of Nicaragua. The National Football League teamed up with the Christian group World Vision to distribute millions of dollars worth of the losing Super Bowl team’s licensed Reebok apparel in poor parts of Nicaragua and Romania.
“World Vision helps us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste,” said David Krichavsky, the league’s director of community relations. “We are pleased to find a good home for clothing by getting it to those who need it most,” he told the Nicaraguan paper.
“Where these items go, the people don’t have electricity or running water,” Jeff Fields, a corporate relations officer for World Vision, told the New York Times. “They wouldn’t know who won the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even know about football.” Fields is not entirely correct based on what one Nicaraguan girl told the New York Post about the Patriots' gear: "I like this a lot. We never thought we would receive shirts from professional American football players."
This practice has become fairly well-known among sports fans. On various pro football message boards in the days following the Super Bowl, there were snarky posts saying that refugees everywhere were excited about getting "19-0" gear. --Jim Buzinski