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Justin Jefferson on Filming Super Bowl LVIII Spot in Ghana: 'Amazing Experience'


Seeing Justin Jefferson make leaping catches on the football field is nothing new.

But during a Super Bowl LVIII commercial last weekend, NFL fans watched the Vikings receiver make a diving grab in Ghana, Africa.

The "Born to Play" ad opened with a young Ghanaian boy, Kwesi, wearing a Lamar Jackson jersey and watching NFL highlights on a tablet before being scolded by his father to get some sleep. As Kwesi laid his head on the pillow, he said goodnight to an image of Giants running back Saquon Barkley – just one of several NFL posters hanging on the wall.

Viewers of the commercial then catch a glimpse into Kwesi's daydreams the following morning.

As he runs through his home holding a football, Kwesi dodges family members and the breakfast table as if they're defenders on the field. He sprints through a marketplace in Accra, Ghana, where he encounters NFL stars dressed in their game-day gear.

Kwesi evades 49ers linebacker Fred Warner before launching a pass to Jefferson, who leaps to make the catch before landing on a cart of vegetables.

"Hit the Griddy?" Jefferson asks Kwesi, the two celebrating together.

Kwesi continues through the market, dodging Saints edge rusher Cam Jordan and then pitching the ball to Barkley – but is "intercepted" by a dog.


"That's on you, bro. Besides, I'm not even real," Barkley says before disappearing in a poof of smoke.

Kwesi chases the dog out of the marketplace where he sees, on the other side of a fence, an American football camp. It's there he meets NFL Legend and two-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora, who is of Nigerian descent.

"I know that look. I know that dream," Umenyiora tells Kwesi. "I had the same one. See, Kwesi – it doesn't have to be a dream anymore. It doesn't matter where you were born. As long as you were born to play."

Osi and Kwesi

Realizing Umenyiora is quite real and not a part of his daydream, Kwesi smiles.

The commercial closes with a message:

The NFL International Player Pathway Program is expanding across the globe, helping athletes everywhere make their football dreams come true.

The athletes may have been "imaginary" in the ad's storyline, but Jefferson and his NFL peers actually traveled to Ghana to film the spot in the local marketplace.

"The culture, the energy, the people – it's all love," Jefferson said in a behind-the-scenes clip. "As much as we love American football, we want to share that love [with] the rest of the world. I'm excited for the world to see the story."

Jefferson Ghana 1

In another video, NFL EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Tim Ellis reflected on the commercial's filming.

"Everyone had such great positivity and excitement around what we were doing," Ellis said. "We wanted to bring to life something very imaginative, something very inspiring."

"All of the different people coming from different cultures, different areas of the world, we want to share that love," Jefferson emphasized.

Added Jordan: "Think about how much more potential there is to tap into."

Jefferson later posted about the trip on his personal Instagram page, calling it an "amazing" experience and noting that "Kwesi was the real professional."