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Staples NFL Coach of the Year Enters Final Week of Balloting; Fans Cast Still Vote for their Favorite Head Coach at
WESTBOROUGH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 28, 1998--Staples, Inc. and the National Football League today indicated online voting has been overwhelming for this year's "Coach of the Year" award, with just one more week left for fans to submit their ballots for their favorite coach.

With Atlanta, Minnesota, and Denver leading the way 'on-field' with the best records in the NFL, their respective head Coaches -- Dan Reeves, Dennis Green, and Mike Shanahan -- lead the way 'on-line' and currently rank as the top three vote getters. Any coach in the NFL still can win, and from now until January 5, 1999, football fans can cast their vote simply by logging onto and selecting the 'Coaches Club' page.

The winning head coach will be presented with the "Staples NFL Coach of the Year" award on Super Bowl media day, Tuesday, January 26, 1999, at South Florida's Pro Player Stadium prior to Super Bowl XXXIII. Staples Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas G. Stemberg will present the award. In addition, $25,000 will be presented to a selected charity on behalf of the coach, Staples and the NFL.

"This award celebrates a coach's commitment to excellence in inspiring his players as recognized by the fans who follow his team. There is no greater honor," Stemberg said. "In partnership with the NFL, this is Staples' first entry into on-line balloting, and the response has been outstanding. Fans really have taken to the ease of Internet voting," he said.

The NFL "Coach of the Year" award is being sponsored by Staples, the Office Superstore for the first time this year. Now in its fourth year overall, "NFL Coach of the Year" balloting levels have reached an all-time high. This award is the first NFL "league" wide award to be selected solely via the Internet by fans.

"NFL fans have done a good job in selecting the league's top coach for the past three years," said NFL President Neil Austrian. "This year, with so many teams having excellent seasons, fans have a tough challenge in front of them." Past winners of the "Coach of the Year" award include Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1997), Mike Holmgren of the Green Bay Packers (1996), and Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles (1995).

Staples is a $6 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and business from home based businesses to Fortune 50 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The Company has over 37,000 employees serving customers through more than 900 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and contract business.

     CONTACT: Staples
              Mike Stenhouse