Back in 2006, CBS practically eliminated sideline reporters on NFL games except for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl and hardly used them during the NCAA Tournament. But since then something changed along the way.
Whether it was the Great Super Bowl XLVII Blackout in New Orleans or the partnership with Turner that brought sideline reporters back with a vengeance on the Tournament, CBS began using sideline reporters on NFL games last season using SEC football reporter Tracy Wolfson on a couple of regular season games, then during the playoffs and AFC Championship Game.
CBS has always used a sideline reporter for SEC games as Wolfson has been working with Verne Lundquist and either Gary Danielson or Todd Blackledge since 2004.
As Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch reports, Wolfson will be moving to the NFL full-time this upcoming season as she’ll team with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on Thursday Night Football. That leaves an opening on the SEC on CBS and it means that rising star Allie LaForce will take Wolfson’s place on the sidelines.
Wolfson will work with Nantz and Simms not only on Thursdays, but Sundays as well and into the NFL postseason. Deitsch says she will continue to be the lead sideline reporter for the NCAA Tournament.
As for LaForce, she gets a high profile gig following a strong showing at this year’s Tournament with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Based on her strong work in the Tournament, we named her as one of the winners of CBS/Turner’s coverage. She worked one of CBS’s AFC Divisional Playoff games in January.
LaForce has been with CBS since 2012 when she was named as a co-host of CBS Sports Network’s Lead Off. She’s had a meteoric rise over the last year having worked on the NCAA Tournament twice, being a contributor to CBSSN’s That Other Pregame Show and the aforementioned NFL playoff sideline gig.
So it’s good to see CBS utilizing sideline reporters and seeing the value of the position for a full NFL season.