Michele Tafoya is one of the most respected sports broadcasters of her generation. With a lengthy and admirable career, she will go down in the record books as one of the pioneers of her field.
Tafoya’s track record, for all intents and purposes, speaks for itself:
▪️ 301 regular season games
▪️ 13 Wild Card games
▪️ 8 Divisional Playoff games
▪️ 5 Super Bowls
— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) January 11, 2022
Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams marks Tafoya’s final event at NBC.
“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,” she said in a press release earlier this year.
“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!”
While Tafoya’s exit has been billed as her walking away, it’s hard to ignore the dubious set of circumstances that led up to it. Namely, all the hot water she landed in following her now-infamous Colin Kaepernick comments.
In addition, a series of appearances on ‘The View’ exposed Tafoya’s view points to be particularly right-leaning.
Given the politically polarized nature of the world today, that inevitably earned Tafoya some backlash as well.
‘The Ringer’ boss Bill Simmons was one of several people to draw a link between Tafoya’s newfound openness about her political views and her changing status at NBC.
It’s worth remembering, ESPN NBA reporters have lost their jobs over societal drama over the past year, CBS’ most respected football analyst had folks calling for his head over his Aaron Rodgers take, and then something similar happened to Collinsworth not long ago.
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 13, 2022
Obviously both Tafoya and NBC are claiming that she is leaving on her own accord, but the timing is definitely a little suspect.
Once Tafoya is done with NBC and moves on to the next chapter of her career, it will be interesting to see if she opts to shine any further light on the real circumstances of this departure.