As the rain poured and lightning flashed outside, the Ridgeway High (Memphis) football players sat dressed in full pads and uniforms in silence indoors, with one voice emanating from a player on the ground.
“We ready…. we ready… we ready… for y’all.”
Slowly, the players around him, first nodding along, all rose to their feet, then leaping, chanting and singing along as someone flicks the lights as another player filmed what one commenter on YouTube called “one of the most lit high school pump up videos I have ever seen in my whole entire life.”
Turns out, the National Football League thought it was neat, too.
The 2-year-old video, taken during a rain delay of a high school quarterfinal playoff game against East High, is now the main track of a commercial promoting the NFL playoffs. It ran last weekend during week 17 of the regular season and will continue through the playoffs.
— Dorsey Hopson, II (@SCSSupt) December 31, 2018
The minute-long commercial starts the same way the Ridgeway video does, but as it amps up, shows other athletes and people intensely staring down the camera as the Ridgeway players’ voices bellow in the background.
“Since our kids aren’t on TV a whole lot, it was certainly a big deal to them and they’re proud of themselves,” Ridgeway Principal Jon Stencel said.
Kameron Sneed, now a Ridgeway senior, filmed the original video. He said he had a broken toe that forced him to sit out that game two years ago, which was why he ended up behind the camera.
One of the players started singing the chant as a joke, then started again, and then someone suggested filming it.
“We weren’t expecting it to become as big as it did,” he said.
It eventually found its way onto YouTube, where as of this week it had more than 4 million views.
Head coach Duron Sutton said he was “oblivious” to what was happening inside the locker room that day. He and his coaching staff had their heads in game plans while the players were killing time on their own.
“It was totally a player-driven thing,” Sutton said. “It might not ever been made had the game started on time.”
Sutton said a marketing firm contacted him in early December about using the footage for the commercial.
“It was a good look for us, just for our school and to showcase our program,” Sutton said.
Sneed said he signed the consent forms for the video to be used in the commercial and then mostly forgot about it until he saw the commercial on the NFL’s Facebook page. He saw it again on a television at work.
“It just blew my mind,” he said, adding that his fellow players have all been just as excited.
However, the memory of that game rings a bit bittersweet for their coach.
“It would have been a lot better if we had won the game,” Sutton said.