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Michele Tafoya: ‘I Planned NBC Exit Before Covid’

“I know for a fact I’m going to miss them and certain little moments tremendously, but you know, this has been in my mind for long enough that I’m really ready.”

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News recently broke that Sunday Night Football on NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya planned to step away from the role following the conclusion of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

It is a decision that had been in the making since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she confirmed to reporters in a conference call earlier this week. When COVID-19 struck the world though, her commitment to the on-air product and her colleagues kept her on the team for seemingly longer than expected.

“When COVID struck and we didn’t know what 2020 was going to be like, I just said, ‘Whatever we’ve got to do to get through this, I want to help,’” Tafoya explained.

Michele Tafoya and NBC chose not to make the decision public. Tafoya never wanted the story to be about her. She wanted it to be about the game on the field each week.

“This is hard for me. This is sad. These are my best friends in the world, this crew,” said Tafoya. “I know for a fact I’m going to miss them and certain little moments tremendously, but you know, this has been in my mind for long enough that I’m really ready.”

While her role has been to talk to players, coaches and personnel to obtain information or opinions about the primetime games on the sidelines, Tafoya recently appeared on The View, where she had the ability to express her own opinion on certain issues, including COVID-19 and the situation surrounding former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Shortly after this appearance, Tafoya did not appear on the air for three weeks. That lead to much speculation that she was being punished for something she had said. NBC said in a statement they were pre-planned bye weeks for her.

Tafoya declined to speak about her future opportunities. She did confirm that her new role, whatever it may be, will give her the opportunity to articulate her personal opinions. That opportunity, though, will not be in the realm of sports television.

“If I wanted to stay in sports television, I wouldn’t be leaving,” Michele Tafoya said.

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Sports TV News

Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Sports TV News

Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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