Most Huskers watched Super Bowl LIV crowded around a TV with family, friends and a heaping pile of snacks.
For Ben Buchnat, the game was much more hands on. A 2019 University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate, Buchnat served as a seasonal producer for the Kansas City Chiefs, chronicling the NFL team’s first championship run in 50 years. On Super Bowl Sunday, the job carried him to the sidelines of Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium as the Chiefs rolled to a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
When Buchnat applied for the job, he had no idea he would make a Husker connection with the Chiefs. Coincidentally, one of his bosses-to-be was a fellow University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus and familiar with a few of his college internship supervisors. Buchnat aced the interview, was hired and moved to Kansas City.
At Nebraska, Buchnat majored in journalism and broadcasting and gained valuable experience from internships at HuskerVision, Hudl, The Daily Nebraskan, KRNU, Consequence of Sound and Hear Nebraska.
While his HuskerVision work gave him firsthand experience with the frenzied excitement of game day, he admits he still felt nervous leading up to his first game as a member of the Chiefs video team. When the Chiefs kicked off against the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener, Buchnat was watching from the control room — a completely different environment from his time filming on the sidelines as an intern or cheering in the stands as a fan.
“The control room environment is super pressure packed because we all want to put on a really good show for our fans,” Buchnat said, “I didn’t want to mess that up.”
Buchnat felt his nerves heighten as he and his crew prepared hours before kickoff, but once the action started on the field, he shifted into “work mode” and found his focus.
He kept his calm throughout the season — even as the team took on the Tennessee Titans for the AFC Championship. When the Chiefs clinched the 35-24 win, the control room briefly celebrated before they switched their attention back to work preparations for the postgame ceremony.
Buchnat described the feeling of knowing he would be attending the Super Bowl as “surreal.” During the two weeks leading up to the game, he was one of the members of the crew that remained in Kansas City to prepare content for a fan rally, fulfill media requests, produce and stream a special edition of “Field Pass,” clip media availability and prepare a music video that would be played during the game at Hard Rock Stadium.
After joining the rest of the crew in Miami on Jan. 31, he geared up for his Super Bowl role. Harkening back to his days as a student at Memorial Stadium, Buchnat worked on the sidelines for most of the game — this time as a runner for a Chiefs photographer.
“I never would have thought that working for an NFL team and winning the Super Bowl would happen my first year out of college,” Buchnat said. “It’s just a dream come true.”