Samantha “Sam” Gordon is an advocate of women playing football, a game she has been involved in since she was eight years old. Eric Adelson, a writer for Yahoo Sports, penned an article about Sam in 2012:
- It started as a way for an 8-year-old girl to keep up with her big brother.
- Sam Gordon just wanted to run with the older kids. The coaches in the local tackle football league figured, hey, why not? Maybe they could turn it into a drill: Who can outrun Max's little sister?
- They were shocked to find the answer: no one.
- Sam Gordon, now 9, became one of the fastest kids this Salt Lake City area "Gremlins" league had ever seen. They put her in drills and she outran boys two years older. They allowed her into the "Sharks and Minnows" game and stared in awe at not only her speed, but her ability to move like a tailback.
- ”She could cut and follow blocks like a college football player," says her coach, Chris Staib.
- Staib hatched a plan: His team was drafting seventh out of nine. He wanted to pick the girl. So he started talking her down, suggesting she would get hurt. The other coaches bought it, and with his first selection he chose Sam Gordon.
- ”You dog!" they howled.
- Staib just laughed. Sam ended up running for 25 touchdowns and 10 conversions (no PATs at this level) in her first season playing tackle football. She earned the nickname "Sweet Feet" – a modern-day Rudy Huxtable – and a breathtaking viral video in which she looks so fast that you have to wonder if it's real.
- “Oh it's real," says Staib. "That's her. I was there for all of that.”
Her father uploaded a highlight video to YouTube that, within a few days, was seen in nearly 5 million views.
Adelsen wrote in June 2017 that Sam, at that time 14 years old, helped start a girls’ football league in her community which filled up almost overnight. Sam and others then sued three local school districts “to force high schools to offer girls’ football in the Salt Lake Valley.” She was one of six plaintiffs behind the Title IX lawsuit. The judge ruled against the plaintiffs in March of 2021.
She was the first female football player to appear on a Wheaties box.
Gordon was invited to Super Bowl XLVII (2013) by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. She was featured in an NFL commercial shown during the 2019 Super Bowl and appeared in a Nike commercial that played during the 2018 Academy Awards (see her ten seconds into the video). She was awarded the inaugural NFL Game Changer Award (2018).
With the help of a neighbor, she wrote Sweet Feet: Samantha Gordon’s Winning Season.
In Super Bowl LVII (2023), "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 joined leadership of a new professional football league for women, X League. She is the executive director of a series, Her Turn. She is currently also studying film at Columbia University in New York, and plays for the school’s soccer team.
Sam was born on February 21, 2003, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.