Michele Tafoya to Retire from NFL Sideline Reporting After Super Bowl 56

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 11, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 09:  NBC "Sunday Night Football" sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speaks before a game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 35-32 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Michele Tafoya's NFL sideline reporting career will come to an end after NBC's airing of Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, per an NBC Sports press release Tuesday.

As noted by Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Tafoya's sideline reporting career will have included 327 games (301 regular-season contests, 21 playoff matchups and five Super Bowls).

"This plan has been in the works for two years," Tafoya said Tuesday regarding her decision to leave. "This has been in my mind for several years."

Tafoya, whose sports media career began in 1993, started her current role with NBC Sports and Sunday Night Football in 2011.

The 57-year-old has worn many hats over her decorated three-decade sports media career, which includes four Sports Emmys for Outstanding Sports Personality (Sports Reporter).

In addition to her duties on SNF for NBC, Tafoya also worked the sports desk at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She continued her Olympics work for the 2016 Rio Games and 2020 Tokyo Games as well, working at the swimming venues for each.

Tafoya worked for ABC/ESPN for a decade prior to her NBC stint, notably serving as a reporter for Monday Night Football. She also worked as a reporter for ESPN’s NFL studio programs.

Play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels worked with Tafoya on many of those broadcasts during his time at ABC for Monday Night Football and NBC for Sunday Night Football. He offered these words after news emerged of Tafoya stepping down.

"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.”

Tafoya also worked for CBS Sports from 1994-99, doing both game reporting and studio hosting for NFL, college football and college basketball.

She also hosted CBS' late-night Olympics broadcast for the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Her sports coverage also included the NCAA tournament selection show, the Goodwill Games and the U.S. Open. Tafoya also provided WNBA commentary for Lifetime in the late 1990s.

Tafoya's early career includes time as the Minnesota Vikings sideline reporter for KFAN-AM (1994-98).

The California native was the Midwest Sports Channel's host and sideline reporter for Minnesota Timberwolves' broadcasts in addition to duties as a play-by-play commentator for Big Ten women’s basketball and volleyball.

Tafoya will work the Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs AFC Wild Card Game on Sunday and a to-be-determined divisional-round game before wrapping up her NBC sideline reporting stint with the Super Bowl in Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.