Sam Gordon, the 9-year-old known for her viral Ute football league highlight package on YouTube, has received an invitation to the Super Bowl as the guest of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
It's not the first time she's been a personal guest of the commissioner, either. Sam and her family attended a game between the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 9, 2012, in New York at Goodell's bequest.
"The NFL commissioner brought his twin daughters to the game, and they all hung out together," Sam's father Brent said of the December game. "Sam watched the game with the commissioner, and the next day, Sam was able to tour the NFL headquarters and the commissioner met us there as well. They really hit it off, and we got an invitation in the mail inviting Sam to the (Super Bowl)."
This is just one more notch in a string of high-profile invitiations Sam and her family have received recently.
Since Sam's highlight package was posted online nearly two months ago, she's gotten a lot of attention. She was interviewed live on SportsCenter and Good Morning America, and Wheaties put her face on their cereal box. Furthermore, Abby Wambach and the U.S. women's national team invited her to practice and to a game in Arizona as their personal guest.
Not very many 9-year-old kids get to experience what Sam has experienced, but then not very many young ladies consistently play football with boys, let alone compete with them.
"I feel a little bit different," Sam said of the last two months. "Not many people go through this at the age of 9."
Despite all the attention from the media, celebrities and the NFL, Sam's father said he's not worried about the effect it all could be having on his daughter.
In an email, Brent Gordon wrote, "Everyone who Sam has met over the past two months has been exceptionally great to her. We couldn't have had a better experience dealing with everyone in the media who wanted to share Sam's story or meet her. I do not think that going to the games or meeting high-profile sports figures has had any effect on Sam's personality — she's the same girl she was two months ago who has made a lot of new friends."
"She's just a normal girl who goes to school," he said. "She is preparing for her spelling bee contest in a week." (Sam said her latest challenge is the word "ventriloquist.")
Last football season, Sam put up Adrian Petersen-like numbers in her league, rushing for 1,911 yards and 35 touchdowns. Playing on the defense, she also registered 65 tackles. She was unknown to the sports community at large, however, until her highlight video popped up on message boards.2 comments on this story
"I think the whole reason why she got so much interest initially was due to the folks on the BYU message board that shared the story," Brent Gordon said. "The only place I reached out to share the story was on CougarBoard. Three days after I posted the link, the video had 4.5 million views. We're grateful for the support of the BYU fans there who have made this possible."
Sam said she likes all the people she's met in the last two months, but she also said Wambach is her favorite.
"They're all about the same, but I think Abby was cooler than Luke Staley though," she said. "I'm more of a soccer person. He's still one of my favorite players, but I'm more of a soccer person."