The Amazing Story Behind The Super Bowl Kid

There are plenty of reasons to catch the Super Bowl — from the movie trailers and TV spots that film studios release, to the commercials that become the subject of Monday morning's watercooler chats, to the halftime show that inevitably makes headlines, to the actual game itself... if you're into that sort of thing. This year's Super Bowl, the 54th annual event that saw the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, ticked all those boxes with ease, making a strong impression before kickoff even happened. 

Just before the 2020 Super Bowl officially began on Sunday, February 2, the NFL aired an introduction video commemorating the organization's 100th anniversary. The clip featured a young boy running a football across the country with his friends as various football players and sports legends encouraged him with the words, "Take it to the house, kid!" The clip flipped from pre-recorded footage to a live broadcast when the boy and his pals entered the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where the group of youngsters got the crowd excited for kickoff.

Audiences were pretty moved by the opener — Times Union writer Paul Grondahl tweeted that he hoped the game would live up to "that awesome video and its breakout star" — and were all left wondering who exactly the boy with the bright blonde hair and blazing-fast feet is. Here's the amazing story behind "the Super Bowl Kid."

Who is the "take it to the house" kid from the 2020 Super Bowl?

The star of the "Next 100" spot at the 2020 Super Bowl is 13-year-old football and track superstar Maxwell "Bunchie" Young. A Los Angeles native who saw his first football game when he was just 3, Young began playing football at the age of 5, and those around him quickly took note of his impressive speed (via Sports Illustrated Kids). It was only a year after Young first hit the field that he broke a record: during the 2013 Imani Speed City Track Club meet, he beat out his 200-meter dash opponents by running it in 32.22 seconds. 

Young then burst – quite literally — into the spotlight at the age of 9, when he broke the world record for fastest 100-meter dash, running it in 12.4 seconds. According to MileSplit, Young later ran the 100-meter dash in 12.96 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 27.24 seconds during the USA Track and Field Region 15 Championships in 2016. Young gained additional attention online, with videos of him on the track and the field racking up hundreds of thousands and even millions of views.

In November 2017, Sports Illustrated named Young the SportsKid of the Year. The profile of the rising sports star noted that Young's "outsized personality" matches his "big-time talent" — something everyone who tuned into the 2020 Super Bowl saw for themselves. Young told the outlet at the time that while he's not running or playing football, he enjoys participating in student council at KIPP Scholar Academy, spreading messages of positivity through his social media accounts, giving back to his local community, and spending time with his family.

In 2018, Young appeared in an Under Armour ad in which he got candid about how the drive to maintain greatness motivates him: "I know people [are] gunning for me, so it's like, if I fall off, everybody's going to beat me, so I have to keep pushing [...] You have to have a drive, you have to have an attitude, and definitely be humble."

Maxwell "Bunchie" Young has a bright future ahead

Clearly, Young made a name for himself even before he appeared in the much-talked about TV spot during this year's Super Bowl. And don't expect his star to fade out any time soon. Young's early achievements have set him on a path toward future success — one that includes a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Illinois, if he chooses to take it.

In June 2017, Bunchie's trainer and former University of Louisville safety Mike Evans confirmed to ESPN that coaches were impressed with Young's talents after having seen videos of him playing football. They extended to the then-10-year-old football star a "verbal offer" for a scholarship to attend the university after graduating high school. 

Though the University of Illinois doesn't make any comments on unsigned recruits, Garrick McGee, the offensive coordinator for the school's Fighting Illini football team, did retweet Evans' Twitter post about Young's offer in May of that year. Evans said of the young sports phenom at the time, "Young has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. He's simply gifted with speed and unreal footwork. The kid has an unbelievable work ethic and the sky is the limit for him" (via Max Preps).

Bunchie's scholarship offer earned him a ton of attention — he admitted to Sports Illustrated that there was "a lot of pressure and a lot of hatred," but he doesn't let backlash affect his games — and his appearance during the 2020 Super Bowl has once again put the spotlight on him. With a good head on his shoulders and quick feet beneath him, Young should run toward his future with confidence — and a legion of new supporters cheering him on.