Sunday’s big Super Bowl game boasted the second highest number of viewers in television history. Clocking in at a whopping 95.4 million football fans, this viewership was only second to last year’s game. So it’s safe for us to assume, that you were one of the many that spent last Sunday evening cheering on the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers or mourning for the constant underdog Arizona Cardinals. If you watched all the way to the end of the game, then you may have a heard the announcer excitedly belt out that this year’s commemorative Super Bowl tee is….(drum roll please)….for the first time EVER….eco-friendly! Huh? Through all the cheers and chatter and munching and beer bottles clinking, it certainly caught our attention and made us think “Could this possibly be true?? Has the NFL gone green?”
So we did a little investigation and found out that the 43rd Super Bowl Tee honoring the champion Steelers is indeed legit. Made by Reebok, who has notably made steps towards being kinder to our environment, the tee is 100% organic cotton. Not 10% or even 50%! They even added a little explanation behind what it means to be organic. No info on WHERE it’s made, but still, it was a pleasant surprise and a great step in the right direction for both Reebok and the NFL.
But then we thought…what happened to all of those Champion Arizona Cardinal t-shirts? The NFL can’t predict the end of the game and when the champions are sporting specialty screen printed tees within a minute of winning, they must have had a stock pile of tees for both teams just in case. By order of the National Football League, the losing team’s printed t-shirts are never to be seen on television, or on eBay, or anywhere on American soil. With that knowledge, it’s hard not to assume that the losing teams tees are all a waste (and thus a horrible environmental practice).
But upon further investigation, we were pleasantly surprised that these unwanted, forbidden tees are actually donated to people in impoverished nations who don’t have the luxuries of television, electricity, or even running water. They have no concept of who actually won the Super Bowl, or even what the Super Bowl is in some cases, and are just as psyched to receive a brand new trendy designer tee. The gear is flown along with school books and medical supplies usually to Africa, by World Vision, a Washington-based international humanitarian organization
Still, the NFL’s champion t-shirt production isn’t totally perfect. As soon as the clock hits 00:00 and a winner is official, screen printers work through the night churning out millions of tees that are then flown at the light of dawn to sporting goods stores all over the country so that the beloved merchandise can be available *instantly* to the American public. If a super star football player is wearing HIS tee on Sunday night, then the American people have the right to wear THEIR tees first thing Monday morning. Or…couldn’t we all just wait one more day and let the clothing manufacturers enjoy the big game in peace and get a goods night’s rest?
But even with the chaotic production schedule of the tees, we’re still pretty happy to see the NFL make such great strides towards being a better organization to both our planet and the people who inhabit it. If only all the sports leagues would follow suit and become just as global and forward thinking!