It was Christmas in February for the the lucky residents of one Zambian village when a shipment of brand new hats and T-shirts arrived proclaiming the New England Patriots champions of Super Bowl XLVI.

“I could hardly believe my eyes when I opened that box and saw the Patriots won again,” said a youngster named Sonkwe. “I’ve never seen an NFL game in my life, but I’ve been wearing my Patriots ’19-0 Perfect Season’ T-shirt every Sunday for four years. It reminds me that anything is possible and is probably the reason our own football team is playing in the African Cup final on Sunday!”

With a second championship in four years, Sonkwe is optimistic that the Patriots will someday be in the same conversation as his father’s favorite team, the Buffalo Bills.

“My father’s always bragging about the Bills winning four Super Bowls in a row,” said Sonkwe. “I realize the Patriots can’t duplicate that, but if they can win one or two more, in addition to the perfect season, it at least becomes an interesting debate.”

Gracious in victory, Sonkwe admitted he feels sorry for the Giants and hopes Eli Manning will one day find his way to the winner’s circle.

“I’m sure his day will come,” said Sonkwe. “And even if it doesn’t, at least he’s not as bad off as his older brother, who has to live with losing to freakin’ Rex Grossman.”

For Sonkwe’s father, seeing his son so happy is better than all four Bills Super Bowls combined, and even he sees a bright future for the Patriots.

“My knowledge of American football is limited at best,” said the boy’s father. “But from what I gather, two crucial factors for winning big games like these are a stout crunch time defense and sure-handed receivers. As you can tell by the look on my son’s face, those are two things the Patriots have in spades.”

Mark Potter