Wednesday, February 6, 2019

FFF (the Future is Female Follow-up)

If you weren't already nodding off during the incredibly boring Super Bowl, you may have missed a couple of very significant "Female Firsts" during the #NFL100 commercial: 

Samantha "Sam" Gordon, appeared in the NFL's 100th Season Superbowl LIII commercial.  Sam was one of three women in the commercial and the only one without a direct tie to the league.  And if you blinked, you may have missed Official Sarah Thomas and announcer Beth Mowins

So why is Sam Gordon's appearance in the #NFL100 commercial so significant?  Sam, the only female player featured among the NFL greats passing around a golden football during Sunday night's Super Bowl commercial, is the winner of the league’s inaugural Game Changer award.  Let that sink in for a minute.  A 15-year old girl from Salt Lake City is the recipient of the National Football League's Game Changer award. 

Gordon, who turns 16 this month, made history in 2015 when she and her father launched the Utah Girls Tackle Football League – the first of its kind – spurring the creation of similar all-girls leagues in Indiana, Georgia and Canada. 

“I was going to a middle school to give a speech about working hard and I asked the question ‘how many girls here would like to play tackle football?’ And it seemed like almost every hand in the room went up,” Gordon said in a video released by the NFL this past weekend featuring her story. “There’s this many girls at this one middle school, how many are there in Utah? In the entire nation? And the world? And next spring, we had a league up and growing."
The first 50 spots for players is said to have filled up in less than a day, and the league has since grown to include nearly 400 female athletes.

“Sam is a game changer because she is shining a light on football so that girls can feel that ‘I’ve been wrong, I have a seat at the table and I was born with that right,'” her father, Brent, says in the video.

Gordon is now trying to start an all-girls football team at her high school.

Sam (born February 21, 2003) is a running back from the Salt Lake City area whose abilities as a football player gained her acclaim when she was just nine years old.

In 2012, while regularly playing against all-male teams (competing with some players who were up to twice her weight), Gordon compiled 25 touchdowns and 10 extra point conversions on 232 carries for 1,911 rushing yards in a single season, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.  In addition, Gordon recorded 65 tackles for the season while playing defense.    2012 was her first year playing football.

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Gordon's father uploaded a highlight video to YouTube that by Thursday of that week had generated nearly 5 million views.  His recording of her football prowess has garnered attention from various news outlets, as well as the National Football League.

Gordon has stated that she will continue playing football for one or two more years, then switch over to soccer, where her passion for athletic competition really lies. In the meantime, she has appeared on Good Morning America, tackled Marshall Faulk on the set of the NFL Network, huddled up with the San Francisco 49ers at practice, and gained the attention and praise of U.S. soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. 49ers running back LaMichael James and former NFL player, Super Bowl MVP, and Heisman winner Desmond Howard both jokingly stated that she should win the Heisman Trophy. She was featured on a Wheaties cereal box, the company stating that she was chosen because she is an inspiration to young girls. She is the first female football player to appear on a Wheaties box.  Let that sink in for a minute too. 

Gordon was invited to attend Super Bowl XLVII by the NFL as the guest of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. During the Super Bowl weekend, Gordon was a guest blogger for espnW, performed a skit during the NFL Honors award show with Alec Baldwin, attended the Commissioner's press conference and media day, and watched the game in the Commissioner's suite with high ranking political figures and well-known football personalities. Gordon was also featured in an NFL Evolution commercial that aired during the game.

Following the Super Bowl, Gordon attended the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards show during which she won a Game trophy for Most Viral Player.

Sam's football story and the experiences she had following the posting of her YouTube highlight video were the inspiration for the NFL's Together We Make Football contest.
Gordon was featured in an NFL commercial that kicked off the contest by asking football fans to share their football stories with the NFL.

With the help of her neighbor, Gordon wrote a book, Sweet Feet: Samantha Gordon's Winning Season, about her football season and the experiences she had following the season, appearing on Conan and Fox and Friends to promote the book.

In 2015, the first known all-girls tackle football league in America, the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, was formed; Gordon was a founding member.

In June 2017, Sam and her father joined together with five other Utah Girls Football League players to sue three different school districts in the Salt Lake City area and force them to offer female American football as a varsity sport. The Title IX-based lawsuit was filed June 23.

1 comment:

CraftyHope said...

I did notice the commercial and wondered who she was. Thank you for answering that question for me. Knowing that there are girls out there like this makes me so happy. Your information here gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing Sam's story. I hope there are more girls out there working to make a difference!

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