"Football is an honest game. It’s true to life. It’s a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life."
Broadway Joe didn’t have Make-A-Wish and its long association with the Super Bowl in mind when he said these words. Somehow, though, his thoughts connect to a relationship that began in 1982 … and will continue this year when the Seattle Seahawks face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix.
An Honest Game
Think for a moment about what you’d wish for if you could be anything, go anywhere, have anything or meet anyone. And think about what that wish would say about you. Naming your one true wish is one of the most honest representations of your interests, history and even family.
This year, 12 kids wished to see the 2014-15 National Football League season come to a conclusion that transcends sport. Every year of its existence, the Super Bowl has lifted itself a step higher as a cultural phenomenon. It’s more than a game, and it’s more than two teams. The desire to see this in-person unites the wish kids who will attend this year – and it connects them to more than 200 other wish kids who have wished to go to the Super Bowl in years past. And they’ll watch two community-minded teams that have granted record numbers of wish experiences this year.
A Game About Sharing
Kids with life-threatening medical conditions share a bond that’s impossible to replicate. It comes from sharing a burden they never wanted … and yet somehow refusing to let it define their lives.
An event that draws wish kids together like Super Bowl XLIX unites them in a way that overshadows the events that made them eligible for a wish. They find similarities in their lives and interests that enhance the experience. And it becomes far more than they imagined when they told Make-A-Wish volunteers “I wish to go to the Super Bowl.”
A Team Game
This is for the football fans who love statistics: More than 250,000, one every 37 minutes, more than 14,000. These numbers represent the wishes we’ve granted since our inception in 1981, how often we grant wishes somewhere in the United States and how many wishes we granted last year. Many of these wishes give the kids we serve access to some of the most-exclusive events and places in the world.
How is this possible? Only with an incredible amount of help – from volunteers, supporters and organizations like the NFL and its teams. From assistance with tickets to behind-the-scenes tours, the NFL makes it possible for Make-A-Wish to change the lives of eligible kids whose vision of life at its best is being in the stands of a Super Bowl.
Seattle and New England: By the Numbers
First Wish Granted: 1986
Total Wishes Granted: 36
Good to Know: 2014 was the Seahawks’ biggest wish-granting year to date, with wish kids attending eight home or preseason games.
Intangibles: Entire staff greets visiting wish kids. Wish kids get their own locker filled with gifts, plus a duffel bag, a custom jersey and signed footballs. Those who are physically able get to run the game ball out onto the field. The Seahawks share video highlights of the wish during the game.
Popular Story: Eight-year-old Brayden wished to meet Russell Wilson. Read Braden's story from Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington!
New England Patriots
First Wish Granted: 1996
Total Wishes Granted: 86 wishes
Good to Know: 2014 was the Patriots’ biggest wish-granting year to date, with 10 wishes being granted.
Intangibles: Wish kids receive a locker room where they are presented with a personalized locker with a name plate, an official personalized NFL jersey, and other gifts. The children attend a mock press conference and meet team owner Robert Kraft. They play catch/run plays with the players. The Patriots share video highlights of the wishes on the Jumbotron during the game. The children receive complimentary passes to the Patriots’ Hall.
Popular Story: Six-year-old Michael from Plymouth, MA wished to meet Tom Brady. Read Michael's story from Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island!
Wish kid Shanon, Kentucky native and Seattle Seahawks fan, arrived in Phoenix to watch Super Bowl XLIX. Meet Shanon and see his story...