The 13-year-old behind the Super Bowl’s most viral moment says he can’t believe his new internet fame

super bowl kidTurns out this moment wasn’t what it appeared. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

  • Ryan McKenna, 13, is the teenager behind the latest Super Bowl meme.
  • McKenna explained that the moment he checked his phone during Justin Timberlake’s performance wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be.
  • The seventh-grader “can’t believe” what’s come from his viral moment.

Every Super Bowl has one. From Katy Perry‘s joyous left shark to Lady Gaga‘s big jump, the Super Bowl is a breeding ground for memes. This year’s latest internet sensation came courtesy of Ryan McKenna, a 13-year-old Massachusetts resident whom cameras caught checking his phone as Justin Timberlake performed.

The moment quickly made McKenna the star of a meme, with people joking about what he may have been looking up on his phone during the performance.

Despite looking a bit aloof or unimpressed, McKenna told the “Today” show that he was actually very excited to see Timberlake perform.

“I’m a huge Justin Timberlake fan, and that was my favorite song — ‘Can’t Stop [the] Feeling’ — so I was just so excited that he was right there playing that song,” McKenna said.

He blamed the gotcha moment on poor timing, saying he was actually preparing to snap a selfie with the nearby performer.

“I had a video going, and then my phone got shut off, and I had to pull back up the phone to get the picture going,” McKenna said. “And then I finally got the selfie in the end.”

McKenna’s moment paid off. His big snap has already helped his newly created Instagram account attract more than 50,000 followers.

The Derby Academy seventh-grader told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that his newfound fame had come at a price. Namely, his phone battery.

“My phone is almost dead,” McKenna said. “I’ve gotten so many notifications. I’ve got like 36 Snapchats, like 21 DMs, and like 150 follower requests on Instagram.”

For his part, McKenna’s father is shocked.

“We had the great opportunity to come see the Super Bowl,” his dad, John, said. “Never in a million years did we think this would happen.”

“It was already crazy to be at the Super Bowl in the first place,” the younger McKenna agreed. “Then all of a sudden I’m up on the Jumbotron and everyone is talking about me. I can’t believe it.”

It looks as if Ryan McKenna is living a meme come true. Step aside left shark.

You can watch his entire “Today” show interview below:


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