Michele Tafoya is a four-time Emmy award-winning sportscaster turned political and cultural commentator.
Record-setting, four-time Sports Emmy Award winner Michele Tafoya worked her final NBC Sunday Night Football game at Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022, her fifth Super Bowl. She retired from sportscasting the following day. In total, she covered 327 games — the most national primetime TV games (regular + postseason) for an NFL sideline reporter.
Prior to her retirement Tafoya stated, “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!”
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 that Emmy in each year of its existence (since 2011).
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. The American Sportscasters Association voted Tafoya among the top female sportscasters (No. 4) in 2009, while the Davie-Brown Index ranked her among the most likeable TV sports personalities in 2006, including “Biggest Trend-Setter.”
The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Tafoya is “widely recognized as the best sideline reporter in sports.” She recently completed her 11th season on the NBC SNF sidelines, culminating with her fifth Super Bowl.
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.”
Tafoya joined NBC Sports Group 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.
After working her primetime record 250th NFL game (regular season and playoffs) on September 16, 2018, The Associated Press profiled her under the header “Tafoya masters difficult job of sideline reporter.”
She served as a sideline reporter during NBC’s broadcasts of Super Bowl XLIX, the thrilling four-point New England Patriots victory over the Seattle Seahawks which still ranks as the most-watched show in U.S. TV history (average of 114.4 million viewers), and Super Bowl XLVI, at the time, the most-watched program in U.S. television history. Tafoya’s first Super Bowl as a sideline reporter came with ABC in February 2006 (Super Bowl XL).
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.
In 2013, she hosted Golf Channel’s premiere series Big Break NFL, which debuted October 8, 2013. A year earlier, Tafoya worked as a sportsdesk reporter for NBC during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the most-watched event in U.S. television history. Previously, she handled rhythmic gymnastics and softball play-by-play at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and hosted late night for CBS’ coverage of the 1998 Nagano Games.
Prior to joining NBC Sports Group, Tafoya spent more than a decade at ABC/ESPN where she saw her profile rise steadily since 2000 through a variety of on-air roles, most notably as a reporter for Monday Night Football and ESPN’s NFL studio programs.
After serving as the sideline reporter for ABC’s Monday Night Football for two seasons (2004-05), Tafoya joined ESPN’s Monday Night Football in 2006. On Mondays throughout the NFL season, Tafoya provided regular updates on the participating MNF teams during multiple ESPN programs, including SportsCenter and Monday Night Countdown, in addition to reporting during the games.
On Christmas Day 2006, Tafoya combined her high-profile NFL and NBA responsibilities to complete a rare double, covering the Lakers-Heat broadcast in the afternoon on ABC, as well as the Jets-Dolphins MNF game that same evening on ESPN. A year later, she completed a similar feat, working the MNF season-finale in San Diego on Christmas Eve, followed by the NBA’s Suns-Lakers Christmas Day game in Los Angeles on ABC. In the fall of 2008, Tafoya stepped down from her role as an NBA reporter to spend more time with her family.
A versatile talent, Tafoya has worked as the play-by-play announcer and as a studio host for men’s and women’s NCAA basketball and WNBA coverage, as well as sideline reporting for college football and basketball. She has been a substitute host on Pardon the Interruption and a panelist on Sports Reporters.
Prior to ABC/ESPN, Tafoya worked for CBS Sports from 1994-2000 as a game reporter and studio host for NFL, college football and college basketball telecasts. In addition to hosting CBS’ late night Winter Olympics programs in 1998, she also hosted CBS’ NCAA Tournament selection show, 1998 Goodwill Games and U.S. Open coverage. She was also a WNBA commentator on Lifetime from 1997-99, with Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.
Earlier in her career, Tafoya worked as a host and Minnesota Vikings sideline reporter for KFAN-AM in Minneapolis (1994-98). During that time, she also served as a Minnesota Timberwolves host and sideline reporter for the Midwest Sports Channel and play-by-play commentator for Big Ten women’s basketball and volleyball. From 1995-1998, she was a sports anchor and reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. Prior to her roles in Minnesota, she worked for WAQS-AM in Charlotte (1993), where she was the first female analyst to call UNC-Charlotte men’s basketball games.
A native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., Tafoya graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in mass communications and earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.
Tafoya and her husband Mark Vandersall have two children and a dog named Jersey.