The Super Bowl is one of the greatest visual spectacles on Earth, but at least one young kid at the game appeared to have found something more interesting on his phone, in the process creating the greatest meme of the day.
Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance grabbed headlines even before it started ― with speculations about whether he would address the 2004 ‘nipplegate’ controversy with Janet Jackson, if Jackson herself would make an appearance, and even rumors about a Prince hologram. As Timberlake ran through a medley of hits on the field, a large crowd of fans gathered around.
One of them was a 13-year-old from Massachusetts, identified as Ryan McKenna.
Timberlake singled the kid out in the middle of the crowd, snapping a quick selfie with him and then getting back to his performance. With the cameras firmly on him, hundreds of millions of people around the world looking directly at his face, McKenna did exactly what most people would do in an awkward situation: look deeply into their phone.
As other fans danced, sang and generally lost their minds, viewers at home saw McKenna grab his phone ― and inspire a stack of jokes.
People on social media couldn’t stop joking about what the kid was looking at that was so much more important than what he was doing, in the middle of the field, during the halftime show, at the Super Bowl.
Some people criticized the kid for not living in the moment.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press caught up with McKenna after the halftime show. He said he was recording a video of the performance and then, as Timberlake neared, he turned his phone around to switch modes and take a photo.
“It’s been so crazy,” McKenna told the Pioneer Press. “I don’t even know what to think. All my friends have been texting me and stuff. It’s insane.”
Ryan’s dad John McKenna told the Pioneer Press that his phone “started blowing up” following the TV broadcast of the moment.
“It died, like, instantly after it happened. We had friends from all over reaching out. I couldn’t believe it.”