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 is one of six plaintiffs behind the Title IX lawsuit.
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.
Sam was born on February 21, 2003, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.