ATLANTA (WXIA) -- As the final seconds ticked off clock in the Georgia Dome,
retail workers stood by sealed boxes. If the Falcons had won, they
would have rushed into action. Within minutes, the NFC Championship gear
would have gone on sale.
Academy Sports announced their stores would remain open until the
championship gear was sold out. "Under the agreement with our vendors,
which is primarily Nike in this case, we have to wait until that final
clock is down to zero," Academy Sports Communications Coordinator Eric
Herrera told 11Alive News.
The sellout never happened. The Falcons lost and the boxes remained unopened.
The sealed boxes will be sent back to vendors over the next few days.
Fans and retailers don't even get a peek. Since the NFL doesn't want
gear touting wins that never happened to show up on TV or eBay, the
pre-printed material used to be destroyed.
Seventeen years ago, the NFL started donating the gear to World
Vision. They're a Christian humanitarian organization working in 100
countries to tackle poverty and injustice.
After the gear is shipped back to NFL vendors, it's re-counted and sent to World Vision's distribution center in Pittsburgh.
Sheryl Watkins, Senior Communications Officer with World Vision,
confirmed they were expecting Falcons "NFC Champions" and "Headed to the
Superbowl" gear to arrive later this month. She said once they have a
count of gear, they'll let their partner agencies know the clothing is
She shared pictures of a previous distribution where young boys in
Uganda posed with Steelers Super Bowl Champs 2011 T-shirts (the Packers
won the Super Bowl in 2011). Watkins said she's not sure yet where the
Falcons gear will go, but in the past, it's ended up in El Salvador,
Indonesia, and Haiti. Every year, the misprinted gear equals about 100
pallets of clothing, worth about $2 million.
Julie Wolfe, WXIA