MICHELE TAFOYA TO WORK FINAL NBC "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" GAME AT SUPER BOWL LVI ON FEB. 13
Sunday's AFC Wild Card Playoff Game (Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City at 8 p.m. ET) Marks Tafoya's Unprecedented 325th Primetime Game as NFL Sideline Reporter
Tafoya Has Won Record 4 Sports Emmy Awards for Reporters
Hall of Fame QBs Brett Favre & Peyton Manning Comment on Tafoya
STAMFORD, Conn. - January 11, 2022 - Record-setting, four-time Sports Emmy Award winner Michele Tafoya will work her final NBC Sunday Night Football game at Super Bowl LVI on February 13.
Tafoya, who began her sports media career in 1993, is the most-honored national television sideline reporter in U.S. sports (four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality-Sports Reporter) and is also the only finalist for the honor in each year of its existence (since 2011).
"My time with NBC Sports has been the most satisfying of my career. I've had the good fortune of collaborating with a team that is amongst the best at what they do, and the support I've received in this position has been unparalleled," Tafoya said. "The list of people to thank is incredibly long, but for now, I will say I am immeasurably grateful to Fred Gaudelli, Drew Esocoff, Al Michaels, and Cris Collinsworth. They are the backbone of the Sunday Night Football family.
"Some may consider me crazy to walk away from one of the more coveted roles in sports television, and I do not doubt that I will miss many aspects of the job. But for some time, I have been considering other areas I would like to explore both personally and professionally. I couldn't ignore that little voice anymore after what we have all endured over the last few years. There's no better way to walk away from covering the NFL than with one more Super Bowl!"
This Sunday, Jan. 16, she will work her 325th game as an NFL sideline reporter on the Pittsburgh-Kansas City AFC Wild Card game (8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock) - the most national primetime TV games (regular + postseason) for an NFL sideline reporter.
Tafoya will work her fifth Super Bowl (and 327th NFL game) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California - less than 10 miles from where she grew up in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Following is the final breakdown of Tafoya's regular and postseason games on the NFL sidelines as of Super Bowl Sunday:
Regular Season 301 games
Wild Card 13 games
Divisional 8 games
Super Bowl 5 games
Tafoya joined NBC Sports and Sunday Night Football in 2011, and in her first year with NBC, she was awarded the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality - Sports Reporter. She earned the honor again following the 2013, 2018 and 2020 NFL seasons.
In addition, the American Women in Radio and Television honored Tafoya twice with a Gracie Award: in 2014 for "Outstanding On-Air Talent in a Sports Program" for her work as a sideline reporter on Sunday Night Football, and in 1997 for "Outstanding Achievement by an Individual On-Air TV Personality" for her WNBA work with Lifetime.
Tafoya has covered a wide range of sports beyond the NFL. At the Tokyo Olympics and Rio Olympics, she was assigned to the swimming venue, providing reports and conducting interviews with athletes including record-setting Olympic champions Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT MICHELE TAFOYA:
Fred Gaudelli, SNF Executive Producer -- "No one has performed the sideline reporter role better than Michele in my professional lifetime. She's as good at her job as Al and Cris are at theirs. Her contributions to Sunday Night Football have been significant and I know she'll be successful at whatever she chooses next."
Drew Esocoff, SNF Director -- "Michele is the consummate professional and more important, the ultimate friend. I've enjoyed every second of our work time together. We will miss her contributions to SNF which have been enormous!"
Al Michaels, SNF Play-by-Play - "Michele Tafoya is the perfect broadcast partner. I've worked with Michele on both the NFL and NBA on close to 350 telecasts and she always hits it out of the park. Her preparation is unmatched and her ability to convey what she's addressing in the moment is flawless. And she does it in the snow or rain or heat or any element you can think of. What she does on the air speaks for itself but what she does behind the scenes in fleshing out stories through the years has been invaluable to me and to John Madden, Cris Collinsworth, Doc Rivers, Hubie Brown and every production unit she's been a part of. And on top of all this is who she is - brilliant, funny, compassionate, understanding and a mom who just happens to have raised, along with husband Mark, two beautiful children. Working with Michele has been pure joy."
Cris Collinsworth, SNF Analyst - "I am having such mixed emotions with this announcement. I am so happy that Michele gets to turn her attention to her passion for changing the world. But, I am saddened at the thought of losing such an important member of our family. Michele makes every day at NBC Sports fun. She can take a joke and she can certainly dish them out. We have all had so many laughs together that at times it is easy to take for granted how incredibly talented she is and how hard she works every day at her craft. Michele is our standard. When topics that require meaningful research and depth of thought come up on Sunday Night Football, Al and I always say the same thing, 'Let's go down to Michele.' Michele, we love you and will miss you badly."
Brett Favre, Hall of Fame Quarterback - "From Monday nights to Sunday nights, I always enjoyed spending time in the production meetings with Michele. However, my absolute favorite was the postgame interview because we had won the game. Fortunately, I was able to participate in my fair share of those. Michele always kept the focus on the game and asked the questions fans wanted answered. I want to wish her the best in whatever comes next, and congratulate her on a great career."
Peyton Manning, Hall of Fame Quarterback - "Michele Tafoya is a true professional. During my time in the NFL and even going back to the University of Tennessee, I always enjoyed my conversations with her in production meetings and our interviews on the field. She would bring out the joy in players during her interviews. That is one of her biggest strengths, getting players to talk about their emotions, what they were thinking and all that went into helping their team get a big win. It was always fun talking with Michele after a game because that meant you won and she had a unique way of bringing out all that went into that moment. Michele has done it the right way and done it for a long time at the highest level. I wish her all the best in this next chapter. One heckuva job well done, Michele. Congratulations on an extraordinary run, and I wish you all the best."
--SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL -