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Worchester Telegram, October 9th 1994

CoryGibson Dec 17th, 2013 92 Never
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  1.  People just can't get enough of 'em.
  2.  
  3. Can you believe it, people are even buying Patriot boxer shorts! In the past that would have been enough to scare a man into briefs.
  4.  
  5. And they've sold out the Pat Patriot replica helmets at $225 apiece. You can still get the up-to-date ones for $199.95, though.
  6.  
  7. Forget about what is happening on the NFL fields these days, check out the Patriot souvenir store at Foxboro Stadium or the local sports store.
  8.  
  9. The Patriots are selling.
  10.  
  11. So are the Raiders, the Bears and the Cowboys, especially the Cowboys.
  12.  
  13. They're selling everything from boxer shorts to winter coats, from bumper stickers to watches. Also, sweaters, sweatshirts and even baby pajamas at $19.95.
  14.  
  15. Whenever you read a player's salary, don't you say, "Boy, I wish I made that money"?
  16.  
  17. Forget it, think bigger, like NFL Properties.
  18.  
  19. BIG BUSINESS
  20.  
  21. This year NFL Properties, which manages all the merchandise sanctioned by the league, will do $3 billion in retail sales. That's right, $3 billion.
  22.  
  23. "We are the No. 1-selling sport," said Chris Widmier, the representative for NFL Properties.
  24.  
  25. The best-selling teams? The Cowboys, Raiders, 49ers and Dolphins.
  26.  
  27. "The figures aren't available yet that would reflect sales through October, but we know there's excitement (i.e. sales) in the New England area," he said.
  28.  
  29. The "Throwback" idea would seem a boon to sales with replica material added to the current offerings, but Widmier said the idea of the uniforms was to "create a visual way to celebrate the 75th anniversary."
  30.  
  31. There will be sales, but considering what the annual total is, the $40 million expected from Throwback items is like comparing an Escort to an Eldorado.
  32.  
  33. And what about those names on those Throwback jerseys? They didn't have names back in 1921 or '37. "That was in consideration of the '90s, and television," said Widmier. "They were playing in leather helmets then, too."
  34.  
  35. Authenticity goes only so far, especially when the TV commentators want to be able to read those names.
  36.  
  37. Widmier said caps - there are 20 different Patriot styles, not including the baby watch cap at $5 - and sweatshirts are generally the best sellers, but the NFL has tapped into a growing market in home and auto products.
  38.  
  39. SHEETS, WHEEL COVERS
  40.  
  41. Yes, you can get Cowboy or Patriot sheets and curtains. And you can cover your spare wheel with a cover that tells the world you're a Patriot fan.
  42.  
  43. NFL Properties has come a long way since 1963. In fact, it has come a distance in the last four years. Sales in '90 were $1.5 billion.
  44.  
  45. Widmier notes that you can authenticate your purchase of anything with the 75th anniversary patch on it.
  46.  
  47. To discourage knockoffs, stitched into the anniversary patch (in the number seven, to be exact) are the initials HAY.
  48.  
  49. The Hay is for Ralph Hay. In case you weren't around then, it was at Hay's Hupmobile factory in Canton, Ohio, where the league was organized on Sept. 17, 1920.
  50.  
  51. And nary a one of 'em present had a Patriot on his shorts.
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