(Foxboro, MA) -- "Responsibility Has Its Rewards" was the message to New England fans as the New England Patriots, the NFL, and the TEAM Coalition joined forces to get the word out to fans about the importance of responsible drinking and always using a designated driver at the AFC Championship game on Sunday. And the message could not ring more true for James Beatty. He was selected as the designated driver for the season for the Patriots, and he is going to the Super Bowl.
TEAM Coalition - an alliance of professional sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, the beer industry, broadcasters, governmental traffic safety experts, and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports facilities - coordinated an NFL-wide promotion in support of existing designated driver programs. TEAM and its partners are educating fans about the importance of drinking responsibly and always buckling up and designating a sober driver.
"We want the game-day experience to continue to be safe and enjoyable for Patriots fans while they are at the stadium and as they travel home after the games," said Jim Nolan, Vice President of Operations, New England Patriots.
Several hundred Patriots fans participated in the designated driver program at Gillette Stadium. From those participants, one lucky designated driver for the season - James Beatty - was selected.
When the Patriots play in the Super Bowl on February 1, 2004 at Reliant Stadium, Mr. Beatty and his guest will be there to support them. His reward for acting responsibly and pledging to be a designated driver was two tickets to the game, airfare to Houston, and hotel accommodations for four nights.
"This promotion was an opportunity for the NFL to show support for the clubs' efforts to encourage responsible fan behavior. And for the fans, it is a great reminder that responsibility has its rewards," said Jill Pepper, Executive Director of the TEAM Coalition.
Roger Goodell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the National Football League added, "The NFL has strongly supported the TEAM program for nearly 15 years. The positive contributions made by TEAM are far reaching."
The designated driver program at Gillette Stadium offers fans a solution to the problem of how to get home safely after drinking at the game: the designated driver - the person who chooses to stay sober, drives everyone else home safely and makes sure everyone buckles up. "This program shows how the NFL, TEAM, the concessionaires and breweries can all work together to implement successful awareness programs," added Pepper.
A recent survey conducted by Data Development Corporation shows that the Designated Driver concept is well known in America. Nearly all Americans (94%) are aware of the concept. More importantly, the role of Designated Driver is being assumed by millions of Americans (122 million people have either been a Designated Driver or have been driven home by one). Nearly all Americans (98%) believe that Designated Drivers help save lives.