Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, but the biggest winner that day may have been Maxwell “Bunchie” Young.
The 13-year-old football player from Los Angeles became an overnight sensation when he appeared in the NFL’s “NEXT 100” spot, which featured him crisscrossing the country and impressing a wide range of NFL stars past and present before he led an army of kids onto the field prior to the big game.
“It was so crazy. It was truly a blessing,” Young said on TODAY Friday about how he felt while running through the tunnel onto the field. “It was so loud. I was like, ‘Don’t fumble the ball! Don’t fumble the ball! Don’t trip! Don’t trip!’ And when I got there, I was so happy.”
Young, who cites New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame defensive lineman “Mean” Joe Greene and retired quarterback Peyton Manning as his favorite players he met on the project, says he couldn’t tell his friends about the ad while shooting it.
“They (were) like, ‘I saw you at the Super Bowl!’” he said. “I told them I was filming a mayonnaise commercial.”
His mother, Laura Deshazor, says her son has earned everything he’s accomplished.
“He deserves it. He works so hard. He’s been working and training since he’s been about 4 years old, and I’m just proud of him,” she said on TODAY. “Everything that’s coming to him right now he absolutely deserves.”
Young’s future looks about as bright as his blond hair. He has already received multiple scholarship offers to play football in college and was named the Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year in 2017. A track star, he also set the world record for 100-meter dash in the age 10 group — when he was 9.
“I want to be the youngest to win a gold medal, and then I want to go to the NFL,” he said.
As great as his accomplishments on the field have been, his mother says he’s as much of a winner off it.
“He tries to (set) an example for his friends and even inspires older people because they read what’s posted on his Instagram,” she said. “Sometimes, you never know what type of day someone is having, and when you have a little kid that reaches out to you and puts such positive comments on Instagram, that’s something. You never know who you can turn around.”