10 Times This Year's Super Bowl Teams Gave Back To Their Communities

No matter who wins the game, here's a reason to celebrate.

This Sunday, the New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston for Super Bowl LI. No matter which team you're rooting for or who ultimately takes home the trophy, both teams are winners when it comes to something even more important — giving back.

Members of both the Falcons and the Patriots participate in several charity events each year, whether it's raising money for a good cause or simply putting a smile on some deserving fans' faces. It's a meaningful way to put their teamwork to use off the field, while some players even branch out and find their own personal ways to help the community.

Below are just 10 examples of the teams' generosity. You can find out even more by visiting each of their Community pages here and here.


1. Rob Gronkowski raffles Super Bowl tickets to benefit Boston Children's Hospital.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, affectionately known as Gronk, won't be playing in Sunday's game because of a recent back surgery, but that hasn't stopped him from doing something special for the big day. Gronkowski is hosting a raffle to raise money for the Boston Children's Hospital (where he has volunteered for years) and the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. The winner will receive two VIP Super Bowl tickets, a travel allowance, and hotel accommodations.

"I'm pumped to be able to give somebody the chance to win the ultimate Super Bowl package and support a good cause at the same time," Gronkowksi told TheWrap.

2. The Falcons sing Christmas carols at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

This past December, members of the Falcons showed off a new talent when they donned team Santa hats and paid a visit to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital to sing carols and sign autographs for patients and their families. They even got Santa himself to tag along with them.

"We enjoy coming down, and kind of being goofy and singing some holiday songs, and hopefully put a smile on a few kids' faces," wide receiver Nick Williams told local news during the visit.

3. The Patriots build a playground in Providence.

In September, several Patriots players volunteered to help get work started on the Ridge Street Park playground in Providence, R.I. They shoveled, mixed cement, and even painted a mural. It was the team's seventh year partnering with the Patriots Women's Association, United Healthcare, and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit dedicated to providing children, particularly those living in poverty, with places to play.

"A lot of these kids look up to NFL players. We just try to set a good example and give back to the community, that you're never too big to do something like this," said wide receiver Matthew Slater, according to the team's website

4. Patrick DiMarco is named Falcons' Man of the Year.

In 2015, fullback Patrick DiMarco was named the Falcons' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for his extensive involvement in the community. According to the team's website, DiMarco has visited several children's hospitals, raised money for mentally challenged children, led Atlanta Falcons Moms Football Safety Clinics, hosted a holiday party for military families, and much more.

"Giving back to me is what it's all about, being able to go out into the community to show love and encouragement to those who are in need is an experience I will cherish forever," DiMarco said.  "I am very grateful to be part of this wonderful organization that encourages all this amazing work we as a team are able to do in the community."

5. Patriot Patrick Chung bartends for a good cause.

Patriots safety Patrick Chung was a guest bartender at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston, where he raised about $2,500 for his foundation, Chung Changing Lives. Chung served up Patriots-themed cocktails, talked to fans, and sold raffle tickets for a VIP concert experience, with proceeds benefiting his foundation's six-week Summer Music Academy for Real Teens.

"Some kids don't have the same opportunities or resources that other kids have," Chung said in a video from the event, "so I kind of made a foundation to even the playing field."

6. The Falcons "dazzle and dine" breast cancer survivors.

This past October, Falcons team members, along with Northside Hospital, hosted their annual Dazzle and Dine event, which honors breast cancer survivors for their continued efforts to fight the disease. Nine women received a grant for their chosen breast cancer organization, and a day of pampering and dinner. They even had a pink carpet rolled out for them. 

Several players acted as chefs for the night, including punter Matt Bosher, who said of the honorees, "They've done so much in their community, it's a blast getting out to show them appreciation and really get a chance to have a good time with them. It's so much fun to see the smiles on their faces."

7. Children transform the Patriots into snowmen.

Last December, the Patriots hosted their 23rd annual Children's Holiday Party, where 250 children in need got to eat pizza and ice cream, and hang out with the team. They also got to turn some of the players into snowmen using toilet paper. Free safety Devin McCourty was wrapped up like a Christmas tree.

"We do a lot of things to give back, but something like this is all about fun for everybody. Tired walking here, and I got a boost of energy as soon as I walked in here," he said of the event, which took place a day after the team played.

8. Falcons visit with survivors of the Charleston shooting.

In July 2015, members of Charleston's Emanuel Africal Methodist Episcopal Church, including survivors of the mass shooting that took place there just a month prior, visited Atlanta. During their trip, they were surprised while eating lunch by several Falcons team members. They posed for pictures, signed autographs, and talked with the church members during an incredibly difficult time.

"You have to show people that you support them and you're here for them," said wide receiver Juluo Jones of the team's gesture, because, as he explained, "this could have happened anywhere."

9. Patriots award $20,000 to an elementary school.

In 2015, former Patriot Andre Tippett and rookie Brandon King, along with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, paid a visit to George J. West Elementary School in Providence, R.I. They presented the school with a $10,000 grant in association with the New England Dairy and Food Council and the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative, to be used for improving the school's play area. Kraft then surprised the school with an additional $10,000.

Later on, 36 kids were randomly chosen to participate in an "Ultimate Gym Class" led by King. "For some of my kids, this is probably what they will remember about our school," said Principal Sandra Stuart. "This day will be a lasting memory that they will never, ever forget."

10. Falcons participate in the NFL's Hometown Huddle.

Last October, almost the entire Falcons team participated in the NFL and United Way's Hometown Huddle, in which each team takes part in community service activities around their home city for a day. Players broke up into groups and went across Atlanta delivering meals to senior citizens, surprising teachers and kids, and participating in a culinary class. Based on the photos, it looks like there were smiles all around.


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