When Jill Ragee Downing, formerly of Nevada, was a little girl, at the age of 5, she knew what she intended to do when she “grew up.” But little did she know then, she would someday be working with NFL football players.
Jill said that while growing up in Iowa she was involved in many local theater productions.
“I performed my first show at the age of 5 in a local church holiday show,” Jill commented from Huntington Beach, Calif. “That is when I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”
Over the years, Jill has been featured in many commercials and most recently, after taking a 10-year hiatus, she was booked and cast in a role for the new movie “Lucite Desk,” starring Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron.
Then, Super Bowl 2019 was just around the corner. She found herself booked into a commercial that aired for the Super Bowl.
Many watch the Super Bowl to watch the commercials. If you saw the “NFL 100” commercial, a two-minute ad that kicked off the yearlong celebration of 100 years of NFL football, you saw Jill.
“I had no idea that the commercial would be such a hit,” she commented. “But I did know that it was going to be a popular spot when I filmed it for two days in Los Angeles. The commercial featured over 20 current and retired NFL players.”
The 100-Year Game was the number-one ranked Super Bowl commercial that paid homage to past and present players, including four-time quarterback Terry Bradshaw, Jim Brown, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Dick Butkus and Tom Brady, among others. Also included in the commercial were 19 Hall of Famers.
The commercial featured the football players at a gala reception, which turned into a pickup game of football. Football jerseys were turned in for tuxedos and the commercial featured a gold football flying through the air.
“Witnessing the stunts was an incredible experience for me, “said Jill. “I had never been part of a shoot where stunts were done. I have such respect for the stunt actors in the industry now.”
Stunts included actors flying over and smashing elegant tables with broken glasses and dishes, and cake everywhere.
“It took three days to shoot the commercial and I call it the messiest and most action-packed commercial I have ever shot,” she admitted.
“NFL player, Jerry Rice, was my favorite to work with,” she added. “He interacted with us actors throughout the long 13-hour shoot on day one when he shot his part. He even let me try on one of his Super Bowl rings and told stories of his career on and off the field. He was great to work with.”
Jill can be seen sitting at one of the tables in the gala reception in the 100-Year Game Super Bowl 2019 commercial. She said that one of the parts she had in the commercial was cut and that she loved being part of such an event that will kick off an entire year celebration of football.
Jill continues to pursue her acting career while living in California with her husband and two children. She said that 8-year-old London is a current working actor and her daughter Sydney is a current princess in training and wants nothing to do with the entertainment industry.
We all now know that the commercial that Jill appeared in was the number-one commercial, but who won the actual game?