MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and ended the season with a perfect 19-0 record -- at least it looks that way in Nicaragua.

The NFL donated 290 Patriots hats and an equal number of team jerseys trumpeting the slogans "Super Bowl Champions, 19-0" to impoverished children from two small communities in southern Nicaragua.

Thursday's gifts could not change history -- the Patriots lost the Feb. 3 game to the New York Giants 17-14 - but they made a lot of youngsters in the communities of San Gregorio and Buena Vista very happy, said Miriam Diaz, spokeswoman for the humanitarian organization World Vision, which arranged the donation with the NFL.

"They (Patriots) lost, but the children won," Diaz said.

The only "football" most of the children know is soccer, but they were very enthusiastic about the U.S. version of the game once the rules were explained to them, she said.

"They were very happy to receive the hats and jerseys," Diaz said. "They said they did not expect such a surprise."

Neither did the Patriots.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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