It’s the third quarter of Super Bowl LV. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leading the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 21–9. Maxwell Brodsky, Tampa Bay’s digital operations manager, is watching the game from a press box with a few coworkers, preparing content for the end of the game, which at that point they think will end in a Tampa Bay victory. When the Bucs tack on 10 more points, the group feels all the more confident that the Bucs will secure their second Super Bowl in franchise history and first in nearly 20 years.
Brodsky, who grew up a diehard New York Giants fan, said that rooting for a team that you work for is a much different experience than simply rooting for a team. “You always root for the team that you’re on ’cause you’re part of it,” the 2013 Marist graduate said. “You’re a family. It’s part of what you do. The NFL’s not a nine-to-five. It’s constant, so it’s a really huge part of your life.”
When Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White intercepted a pass with less than two minutes remaining, Brodsky knew they sealed the deal. Brodsky’s been with the Bucs longer than all but six players. They didn’t win double-digit games or make the playoffs during the first four seasons he worked for them. This past season, they cleared both hurdles…and won the Super Bowl in dominating fashion. The press box, Brodsky explained, was a workplace, so there wasn’t supposed to be any cheering. Still, when the game ended, he couldn’t hold back his emotions. “I cried like a baby the second we won,” he proudly admitted.
In 2016, the Buccaneers hired Brodsky to be a digital content coordinator, a position that tasked him — among other things — with posting videos and photo galleries to the Bucs’ website. He was promoted to senior digital content coordinator two years later, where he was given more stories to post as well as some new responsibilities — overseeing the format of the team’s website and app, pitching stories to writers, and more.
As a digital operations manager, Brodsky is now tasked with dealing with the bigger picture. “What I try to focus on is basically ‘How does everything look? How can fans consume content? How well is our content doing?’ ” he said. Search engine optimization for website content is a big part of his job, as is using Google analytic tools to judge how well the content is doing.
Brodsky put in years of hard work for multiple NFL teams before experiencing that dream-come-true moment. He studied sports communication at Marist. “All I knew was I wanted to be in sports in some capacity. I took as many classes as I could in sports comm.” He took journalism classes, which paid off in an unexpected way. Writing stories, he said, “wasn’t one of my fortes” but the classes taught how to write and structure titles and descriptions, a big part of his job.
One class that he took and greatly enjoyed was a football coaching class taught by head coach Jim Parady and defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey. Brodsky excelled and inquired with them on being further involved with the team. He was hired as a student assistant. Among the many responsibilities he had, Brodsky cut film, set up drills, worked with quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends during practices, and helped coordinate special teams during games.
Brodsky’s start in the sports world came as an affiliate editor for NBCOlympics.com. He wrote recaps of events, compiled analytic reports, and more for the 2014 Sochi Games. Following that, Brodsky interned with the New York Jets for six months and Green Bay Packers for a year. With the Jets, he worked with both digital media (uploading articles, photo galleries, and videos to the team website) and social media (creating posts for various platforms, mostly about the Jets cheerleading squad). He started to drift toward the digital media side in Green Bay, where he updated the team website, posted/created content, and coordinated live interviews from Lambeau Field.
Moving to the location of each position, Brodsky said, is a lot to handle. He has lived in the market for each team he worked for, including three different apartments during his time with the Bucs. For the native of Connecticut, each place he has lived in, even New Jersey, the location of the Jets, is unique.
Brodsky had to spend much of his time without his then-girlfriend, Rebecca, who was living in Japan and working as an English teacher. He was alone in Wisconsin and for the beginning of his time in Tampa. Rebecca returned from Japan with a cat, which necessitated a move to accommodate Casper, their new pet. They got another cat, Luna, before finding a townhouse to call home and tying the knot this past May.
Wedding rings were the only rings in fashion for anyone associated with the Buccaneers when Brodsky arrived. The team hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007 and was toiling in mediocrity since 2015. The football gods finally smiled on Tampa Bay in the 2020 offseason, when Tom Brady decided to sign with the team. Brodsky had to prepare to go live at 8:00 in the morning the next day, which required him waking up four hours earlier to get everything ready.
Brodsky, having experience with good and bad teams, said it’s much easier to cover a team that’s good because there is so much more to work with. “You have to be hopeful for the future, which is one of the important things, as well as focus on the specific good things,” he said. “So, if there’s a really cool highlight, roll with that. If the game’s not going so well, you have to just mention it and move on.”
That probably won’t be the case as long as the Bucs keep this team intact. The young playmakers surrounding Brady and a rock-solid defense should allow Tampa Bay to compete for more titles until Brady decides to hang up his cleats for good. The excitement isn’t lost on Brodsky. “I get to listen to Tom Brady talk on a press conference for my job. It’s amazing,” he said.
All of Brodsky’s work culminated in a night he’ll never forget. “The fact that we get to win it in our own home stadium was the coolest experience of my life,” Brodsky said. The road to get there has been a lifelong journey. He has always been a football fan, taking opportunities to get involved the sport and watching the NFL for as long as he can remember. Now, he’s a part of the league he grew up loving. “It’s always weird when you mix your hobby with your profession. But if you can do it and you can make it work, it’s just a great thing.”