The New England Patriots went big but still ended up going home defeated after Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
Even with Tom Brady at the helm, outscoring the Denver Broncos offense was a tall order for New England’s hobbled roster. The Patriots went into the game as nearly six-point underdogs, a distinction that didn’t bother Mitch Modell, CEO of Modell’s, a sporting goods company based in New York.
According to Donna Goodison of the Boston Herald (h/t John Ferensen of Next Impulse Sports) Modell’s had around half a million dollars in AFC championship gear made in anticipation of the Patriots beating the Broncos on Sunday.
Mitch Modell went on the record prior to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game claiming that it was a risky but necessary proposition.
We took a tremendous risk, but you know what? People expect us to have merchandise. The fact that it’s an early game is great for the customers. When [the Patriots] beat Peyton Manning...and knowing that New England will come back to New York to play—there are just so many story lines...it will just get fans crazy.
Indeed, the stories haven’t become any less juicy since Modell’s statement, but the Patriots are no longer in the narrative. Peyton Manning and the Broncos rolled, and now the best quarterback in the league will square off against Richard Sherman and the “Legion of Boom.”
As for the truckloads of Patriots championship gear, it will be removed from stores and shipped to a “third-world” country, according to Modell. Even if there existed willing buyers in the market (Patriots haters?), Modell’s isn’t allowed to continue selling the gear.
Despite their financial loss, I don’t forecast Modell’s to shy away from preemptive championship gear in the future. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can’t ever be counted out of a contest, and businessmen like Modell will always be willing to take the risk.
If it’s free, it’s for me.