Two sets of Super Bowl Champion gears were printed, but only one team could claim the champion title and wear the victory t-shirts and hats after Sunday's game.
The dramatic, breathtaking twist in the final minute of the game crowned the Pittsburgh Steelers the winner of Super Bowl XLIII and made the Arizona Cardinals' pre-printed champion gear unsellable in the United States.
But through a partnership between World Vision and the National Football League, hundreds of poor children and families in the Central American nation of El Salvador will be the happy recipients of Reebok produced t-shirts, hats, and McArthur Towel & Sports produced trophy towels that wrongly hailed the Arizona Cardinals the Super Bowl champion.
For many of these children and families, the NFL gear will be the first new piece of clothing they have ever received in their lives.
"There is a huge need down there (El Salvador), especially outside of the major cities," said Jeff Fields, World Vision's senior director of corporate relations, to The Christian Post on Monday. "We work in those very deprived areas and it's just amazing to see how much need there is. They are living in very poor conditions – no electricity, no running water – and to get a new article of clothing for them is just a huge difference in their lives."
An estimated $1 million worth of Super Bowl apparel will be donated this year, according to Fields.
The Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl apparel from host city Tampa Bay is expected to arrive at the World Vision distribution center Tuesday afternoon. Major sporting good retailers and manufacturers across the nation will also be donating official Cardinal Super Bowl apparel in the following weeks.
Fields will travel to El Salvador on Wednesday to support the distribution of the Cardinals apparel.
For 17 years, World Vision and the NFL have teamed up to donate the large quantity of unsellable Super Bowl apparel to people living in extreme poverty around the world.
Instead of being destroyed, the Super Bowl apparel from the losing team is quickly shipped from the host city to World Vision's international distribution center just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. At the distribution center, items are then sorted and added to shipments of other goods requested by World Vision field staff in various countries.
This year, World Vision noted, the apparel from the losing team is ironically being shipped to the champion's hometown of Pittsburgh where the warehouse is located.
"World Vision helps us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste," said David Krichavsky, NFL director of community relations, in a statement. "We are pleased to find a good home for the clothing by getting it to those who need it most."
Last year, Super Bowl gear from the New England Patriots were distributed to schoolchildren in Nicaragua. The Patriots clothing was also provided to children in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
World Vision is an international Christian humanitarian and development organization that works in 100 countries. In the past five years, World Vision has distributed more than $1.5 billion worth of donated goods from major corporations, including medical supplies, school supplies, building materials, personal care items, shoes, books, as well as sporting goods.
The organization also receives counterfeit NFL team apparel through its relations with United States Customs.