You’d probably recognize Chad Steele’s face even though you don’t know his name. An important part of the NFL staff during its biggest event of the season, Steele’s face is recognized by thousands of football fans each year as the Super Bowl concludes. So who is Steele? And how does he get such high-profile access to NFL stars and the cameras that follow them?
Who is Chad Steele?
For 364 days out of the year, Steele serves as the Baltimore Ravens’ vice president of public relations. But for one day, reports ESPN, he is the postgame media liaison for Super Bowl players. This job means Steele is seen by millions of people around the world as he stands behind the NFL’s biggest superstars.
After a big game, Steele is often in the frame as you see the winning quarterback greet the losing one. This unusual position gives him unique opportunities. He inspired a hashtag after Peyton Manning’s final game and even got to break the news to Tom Brady that he won the Super Bowl.
So how does Steele get such a notable assignment? In his words, he’s “just been lucky that [the league has] said, ‘Hey, we need you to come out and help,’ and I’ve been available. It’s an honor to be able to do it.”
Which NFL stars has Steele stood behind?
When Brady and Matt Ryan shook hands following Super Bowl LI, NFL fans everywhere saw Steele positioned behind them. When Ravens teammates Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis hugged after their Super Bowl XLVII victory, Steele was there to protect and monitor the athletes. When Manning won Super Bowl 50 — his final game in the NFL — Steele was there.
Most humourous, perhaps, was when actor Joel McHale repeatedly saw Steele behind Manning. He tweeted out a picture of Steele with the hashtag #GuyBehindPeyton to his three million Twitter followers.
Steele seemed especially inseparable from Manning during the QB’s final game. Why? Steele had turned around for 30 seconds, and Manning was swarmed by reporters and cameramen. The liaison had to wrestle his way through the masses to find the quarterback, thwarting a potentially dangerous situation for Manning.
If you think Steele is trying to photobomb the NFL stars, you’re wrong. As Steele explains, he’s not “gunning to get on camera.” Instead, he’s “got to stay next to him” or else he can’t do his job. And if Steele doesn’t observe the athletes properly, he doesn’t get to come back.
What is Steele’s job the rest of the year?
As the Ravens’ Vice President of Public Relations, Steele directs the strategic and day-to-day PR for the team. This has resulted in the Ravens winning three Rozelle Awards as the league’s top PR staff, according to Steele’s Linkedin profile.
The famous face is the team’s primary media strategist and liaison for members of the local and national media. In this role, Steele is responsible for scheduling interviews and press conferences for players and personnel. He also serves as the PR team’s point of contact with other departments, supporting business development, marketing, and sales efforts.
As a member of the Ravens staff, Steele receives direct messages from upset Ravens fans who think he’s fraternizing with the team’s rivals. To try to offset some of this, he makes sure to wear purple and a lapel pin to show his allegiance to his full-time employer because, as Steele says, “it’s good to represent the Ravens.”