Lancer Steve Vollmer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Creative Director, Details Super Bowl Experience
From La Follette Lancer to Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Steve Vollmer (class of 1999) of Madison reflects on his journey to being apart of a Super Bowl champion organization.
George Balekji | NBC 15
“If you would’ve told me that my wife and I would accept a job, move to Tampa, never step foot in the actual office the entire time and win a Super Bowl, I would’ve told you you were crazy.”
For Madison native and La Follette High School graduate Steve Vollmer, the unimaginable became reality.
Vollmer joined The Buccaneers as its Creative Director, which oversees design and branding for all of Tampa Bay’s platforms back in May. 10 months later, he is soaking in being apart of the run to a Super Bowl LV championship.
“It is absolutely surreal.. I got the job offer in March. Accepted and started in May, won a Super Bowl in February. My mind is blown.”
Vollmer’s journey to Tampa Bay began in Madison. Playing soccer his entire life he took his passion for sports to Lakeland University after graduating from La Follette high school. There Vollmer was two-year captain of the men’s soccer team. He also discovered his passion for creativity and brand building in Sheboygan, WI. After graduation he lived in Wisconsin until 2011 when he took a job with the NFL as a Senior Creative Director in New York City.
“I got an opportunity to work the NFL league office. They offered me a two-week project to work in creative. From there I turned that into six years and that was kind of all she wrote.”
“I worked for the league then worked for brands like the PGA, the Brooklyn Nets and then eventually down here to Tampa. It sparked a passion for me that I knew was always there then honestly I became obsessed and really just got excited and really just took the momentum and rode it.”
Thanks to his passion Steve was recruited by the Buccaneers back in March. While interviewing for the Creative Director position, Tom Brady signed as a free agent and future Hall of Fame tight end, Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join TB12 in Tampa. At that moment Vollmer knew this new opportunity would be something special. Little did he know how different it would be due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve been doing it from zoom this entire time so not only did I come in and obviously I was welcomed in with open arms and I’m super grateful for my coworkers and just the experience but having to make connections with people, via zoom at a new job almost feels impossible. But because of the balance of being able to go to the stadium once a week and really trying to connect physically it really shows you the difference of working together side by side and being connected digitally. It’s a different world but we all got through it. The way the team got through it, it’s just kind of an example of how amazing it could be for very few people, like the guys on the field.”
“Give the output that you want to receive. I started my job while I was still living in Long Island and for me it was like, ‘alright how do I connect with these 30 different people get everybody on a zoom and just become a face they know and go from there.’ So honestly it’s really as much the relationship side of the business as much as it is being great at your job and working your butt off.”
While working for an NFL team for the first time in his life, Vollmer did see a shift in his fandom from growing up a Packers fan to rooting for a team that handed them a loss twice this season.
“I literally avoided my phone because there was not a relative in Wisconsin, in Madison, friends in Milwaukee, friends in Green Bay, friends all over the state, that were not asking me, ‘who were you rooting for this week?’ For me, it’s the organization who I chose to move my family down to and support. That’s giving me an energy that I can’t match if I’m rooting for the other guys.”
“So for me it was easy, it was Bucs all the way. In the first game we played it was painful to watch because we laid it on Aaron Rodgers pretty heavily and I was just praying they wouldn’t hurt him. Honestly it was an easy decision. For my relatives it was a win either way. Which was a unique circumstance as well. So quite the run and obviously I’m excited to be on this side of it.”
Even removed from his time as a Lancer all these years later, Vollmer still draws from lessons back then to help him accomplish his goals today.
“What I appreciated about growing up in Madison, and particularly on the East side of Madison is there are so many different types of people. Right? And no matter what it takes, what we look like, who you are, what your culture is, what race you are. No matter what it is as long as you bring it together and you guys worked as one, it doesn’t matter. None of the other stuff matters. As long as you connect and you take care of one another it’s just like a team."
“What goes around comes around and that chemistry doesn’t exist if there’s negative energy anywhere. So for me it was growing up in Madison, around some incredibly talented people but also some really really good personal friends that make me who I am and vice versa. The relationships, the networking and truly caring about the man or woman next to you takes you a long way for sure.”
After witnessing Tom Brady help lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from seven wins the year before to winning the seventh Super Bowl in his career, more than any single NFL franchise, Steve also gained respect for a different #12 than the one he’s been rooting for since 2008.
“If you’re doubting Tom Brady after this, then you’re not a sports fan, lets be honest.”
This article was originally published by NBC 15 February 8, 2021. To view the full story on their website, please click here.