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T-shirt ‘Hired Guns’ Begin Printing At Final Gun

January 15, 1996

DALLAS (AP) _ Mike Farrar had ``if win″ marching orders.

If the Cowboys beat Green Bay in Sunday’s NFC championship, Farrar was to go to work. Fast.

And when Cowboys prevailed 38-27, Farrar knew he would be up all night.

Farrar owns Silverwing Productions, a Dallas T-shirt printing company.

Seconds after the final gun Sunday, Farrar’s company began printing 75,000 shirts proclaiming the Cowboys NFC champions.

``The whole thing is predicated on an `if win’ basis,″ he said. ``If the Cowboys would have lost, forget about it. Nobody would have showed up.″

As it was, Farrar had about 40 employees start printing shirts immediately after the game, round-the-clock into today.

He knew that somewhere in Green Bay, his counterparts lost right along with the Packers.

``That’s how it works,″ he said. ``That’s why they play these games _ to see who gets to print the T-shirts.″

A similar scenario likely was unfolding in Pittsburgh after the Steelers beat the Indianapolis Colts 20-16 on Sunday. The Cowboys will meet the Steelers in the Super Bowl in two weeks.

Farrar’s company can print about 4,000 shirts an hour.

``We just print until they tell us to stop printing,″ he said.

Rick Poore, president of DesignWear Inc., a regional T-shirt distributor in Lincoln, Neb., said companies like Farrar’s are the ``hired guns″ of the industry.

``They work for the companies that are licensed by the NFL or the colleges to sell their merchandise,″ he said. ``If _ when Dallas wins the Super Bowl, they’ll have every contractor in the Midwest and Southwest working on it.″

Lots of contract printers are needed to keep up.

Gary Gertzog, an attorney for NFL Properties, recently estimated that merchandising is a $3 billion-a-year industry for the NFL at the retail level. For example, licensed vendors at the Super Bowl, to be played Jan. 28 in Tempe, Ariz., must give 9 percent of their sales to the NFL.

And in 1994, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Cowboys accounted for nearly a quarter of the NFL Properties’ revenue.

Farrar was printing shirts for Starter Corp. of New Haven, Conn., and Front Pages Inc. of suburban Los Angeles.

Starter’s shirts proclaimed Dallas the NFC champions and sported the Super Bowl logo. Front Pages’ shirts were emblazoned with reproductions of today’s front page of The Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, retail stores in the Dallas area were preparing Sunday night to receive orders of special Cowboys merchandise.

``Most it will be here by 10 or 11 in the morning on Monday,″ said Perry Cansler, a manager of a Dallas-area Albertson’s grocery store. ``We’ll have bumper sticker, hats, T-shirts ... it’s just unbelievable.″

Farrar said he expects more orders to roll in as the excitement builds for the Super Bowl.

``When Dallas went last time, we had orders for 350,000 shirts,″ he said. ``Dallas is a hot market.″