Fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will see some big changes going into the 2014 football season. The team has debuted a new logo, new player uniforms, and welcomes back former linebackers coach Lovie Smith as head coach. It’s more than enough excitement since their last time on the field, and helping to document this historic year is Film graduate Stephen Lynch, video producer with the franchise.
Stephen took the role this January and has spent the off-season working on video pieces for the Bucs website, as well as prepping in-game material for the upcoming year. This content has included player and coach profiles, charity event recaps, and a Hall of Fame series for former player Derrick Brooks – all of which helps to drive their engagement with fans.
“It’s so cool to have come in at a time like this and be able to capture it all,” Stephen says. “They were looking for people to tell the team’s story and drive that narrative, and I love being a part of that. I don’t have a dream job but I’d say this is as close to it as I could think. There’s sometimes I check myself and realize how lucky I am.”
Stephen shoots, edits, and writes the story treatments for his videos, skills that follow over from his previous work in television news. One of his standout projects was shot during this year’s NFL draft, which had Stephen following first round pick Mike Evans for his first 24 hours as a Buccaneer. This included his signing at Radio City Music Hall, and a powerful moment with former Texas A&M teammate (and Cleveland Browns draftee) Johnny Manziel.
“That video is something I’m very proud of because so much went into it,” he says. “We captured all these great moments, like Mike and Johnny Manziel at Radio City giving each other a big hug. It’s the first time they’re seeing each other since they both got drafted, and even if you’re not a football fan you can get a little bit of what that means. It was such a blast to be a part of that.”
The work itself is exciting, but so is the workplace, which sits across the street from the Bucs home at Raymond James Stadium. Touring the building with Stephen is like stepping into a museum, with displays celebrating the team’s legacy through photos, memorabilia, former uniforms, and their 2003 Super Bowl ring.
“One of the things I love is the history that surrounds you throughout the building,” he says. “The entrance is stunning, and then even when you walk down the halls there’s things like these gigantic action shots of current and former players on the walls. The rest of the facilities and the staff are great, and every day I’m able to see this stuff behind the scenes that our fans would die to be able to witness. I feel very fortunate.”
A lifelong football fan, Stephen is looking forward to taking the excitement that’s built over the past eight months into his first NFL season. You might even see him on screen, as he’ll spend both home and away games on the field with the team capturing highlights from behind the bench.
“I couldn’t have come here at a better time, and the excitement around Tampa right now is amazing – people believe in their team so much and are ready to get rolling,” he says. “Its been a lot of prep work for us leading up to this season, but that work is valued and respected by the organization, and these players are also very gracious about what we’re trying to do. I’m excited to be a part of this year.”