Drew Brees, Maria Taylor Join NBC's 'Football Night in America' ​for 2021 NFL Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 29:  Former NFL player Drew Brees looks on during pregame warmups prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NBC Sports is adding former New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees and Maria Taylor to its Football Night in America crew.

Brees will work alongside Mike Tirico and Tony Dungy, while Taylor will serve as a co-host in the studio for the weekly program.

Michael McCarthy @MMcCarthyREV

It's official: <a href="https://twitter.com/MariaTaylor?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mariataylor</a> + <a href="https://twitter.com/drewbrees?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DrewBrees</a> joining NBC's 'Football Night in America' show. Here's NBC's new Sunday Night lineup: <br><br>-Studio Desk: Taylor, Brees, Tony Dungy<br>-Analysis/studio: Taylor, Chris Simms<br>-Reporters <a href="https://twitter.com/game?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@game</a>: Rodney Harrison, Jac Collinsworth<br>-News: Mike Florio

The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported in April 2020 that Brees had committed to join NBC Sports over ESPN once he entered into broadcasting upon the conclusion of his playing career.

The 13-time Pro Bowler made the move official in March. NBC Sports said at the time he was penciled in for a role on Football Night in America and the network's coverage of Notre Dame football.

According to Marchand, NBC envisions Brees eventually succeeding Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football. However, Sports Business Journal's John Ourand reported in April 2020 that Collinsworth was planning to stay "for many more years."

The 2021 NFL season will be Taylor's first as a member of the NBC Sports team. She signed with the company in July and immediately featured on coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The move followed a report from the New York Times' Kevin Draper about internal drama at her previous employer, ESPN, centered around disparaging comments made by then-colleague Rachel Nichols.

Nichols was heard on a 2020 phone call implying Taylor's selection as the host of NBA Countdown was because she is Black and the company was "feeling pressure about [its] crappy longtime record on diversity."

ESPN has since removed Nichols from its television programming and canceled The Jump, for which she was the regular host.