Sam Gordon, girls’ tackle football in Utah featured in Super Bowl commercial

Sam Gordon, who went viral at 9 for her football skills, speaks in the video.

(Rick Bowmer AP) Sam Gordon catches a football, Oct. 20, 2020, in Herriman, Utah. Gordon was the only girl in a tackle football league when she started playing the game at age 9. She spoke during a recent Super Bowl commercial promoting the girls' league in Utah.

The Super Bowl can sometimes be known more for its clever commercials than the play on the field. And even though Sunday’s game became an instant classic with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Philadelphia Eagles in the final seconds, one local Utah family took advantage of the wider audience.

Brent Gordon, founder of the Utah Girls’ Tackle Football League that started in 2015, paid for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial promoting the league and asking for girls to join not only a community, but what is trying to become a movement. Sam Gordon, who went viral at 9 years old for a YouTube video showcasing her football skills, spoke in it.

“Utah is the only place where girls who love football can play football,” Sam Gordon says in the commercial, which aired only in Utah. “Be a part of history. ... The future of football is girls’ football.”

Brent Gordon told The Salt Lake Tribune he paid five figures for the commercial. He wanted to shed light on the girls’ league and support the players.

“The thing is, nobody from the schools have ever come to a game,” Brent Gordon said. “They have never spoken to any of the players to know what it means to them. So, I figured I’d try to give a 30-second glimpse of what it is like.”

Sam Gordon has been the national face for girls playing tackle football for several years. She’s appeared in a Super Bowl commercial before. A select set of players, including her, played a truncated game during halftime of the Pro Bowl in 2020.

More recently, Sam Gordon joined leadership of a new professional football league for women. She is currently also studying film at Columbia University in New York, and plays for the school’s soccer team.

Sam Gordon was the lead plaintiff in a federal Title IX lawsuit that attempted to get girls’ tackle football sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association as an official sport. The judge ruled against the plaintiffs in March of 2021.

Brent Gordon appealed the ruling to the Tenth Circuit, which recently found that the district court “had applied the wrong standard when deciding the question of class certification and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings,” per a news release. If the district court certifies the plaintiffs, who have all since graduated high school, as a class, the case may continue.

But that may not be what Brent Gordon wants.

“I’d love to settle the case instead of more litigation,” he said.