Libertyville High School makes a cameo in NFL's Super Bowl commercial
Libertyville High School's football field made a quick - and for many, surprise - appearance in the NFL 100 commercial that aired moments before the kickoff of Super Bowl 54 Sunday evening.
"That was such a cool thing," said Mary Todoric, director of communications for Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128. "You don't see your school on the lead-in to the Super Bowl every day."
It was the school's short distance from another local tie-in - Chicago Bears owner Virginia McCaskey of Des Plaines filming her appearance in the ad at Halas Hall in Lake Forest - that led to Libertyville High's cameo about a minute into the nearly three-minute commercial.
"It needed to be somewhere in close proximity to Halas Hall, and they looked to us because we are," Todoric said.
The school's appearance comes when the star of the commercial, 12-year-old football prodigy Maxwell "Bunchie" Young, intercepts a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, then holds the ball for a field-goal attempt by U.S. women's soccer star Carli Lloyd. As the ball soars through Libertyville High's uprights, Young streaks across the field - and past the school's "Home of the Wildcats" scoreboard - to catch it before dashing off to the next scene.
The crew that filmed the segment Jan. 16 acknowledged they were working for the NFL but not necessarily on a Super Bowl commercial, Todoric said. They spent about 6½ hours at the school before heading to Halas Hall.
"That was very cool for our girls soccer team, who got called out to the field and got to meet Carli," Todoric said.
Also filming at the school that day was New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who through the use of green screen appeared to be in an entirely different location. Edelman was not at Libertyville High, even though the ad implies he's on the same field as Lloyd.
The district's administration offered the use of either Libertyville or Vernon Hills high schools, and after examining the angles and anticipated lighting at both, the producers chose Libertyville.
Administrators learned only recently the ad would run on Super Bowl Sunday, but most members of the school community didn't know until it aired just before kickoff. The appearance was tweeted numerous times even before school resumed Monday morning, Todoric said.
As exciting as the Super Bowl appearance was for the school, it was hardly the district's first brush with film cameras or the NFL.
Before its demolition in late 2014, the district's Brainerd Building in Libertyville served as a high school set for several films and television series. Films shot at District 128 facilities include "Public Enemies," "The Unborn" and "New Port South."
And in 2018, Vernon Hills High School hosted the Bears for a preseason practice.