This NFL season will be longtime reporter Michele Tafoya’s last on the sidelines, according to a report from Andrew Marchand at the New York Post.

Marchand broke the news this evening, saying the decision was Tafoya’s to make. That’s opposed to being pushed out or (pardon the pun) sidelined following her controversial appearance on The View earlier this year, in which she compared COVID-19 to the flu in an apparent attempt to minimize the seriousness of the pandemic, while also suggesting Colin Kaepernick’s anthem kneeling had nothing to do with his exit from the league.

From the Post:

This season is expected to be “Sunday Night Football” reporter Michele Tafoya’s final one on the sidelines, The Post has learned.

Sources said it is Tafoya’s decision to step away from the field. She has been on network TV at CBS, ABC/ESPN and NBC for nearly three decades.

NBC declined comment, while Tafoya could not be immediately reached.

In recent days, Tafoya, 56, has been in the news because she has missed three games, which NBC describes as “bye weeks.”

While what’s next for Tafoya remains up in the air (she’s a multiple Sports Emmy winner with plenty of experience covering more than just the NFL sideline, so this doesn’t necessarily mean she’s finished as a broadcaster), the one thing that is certain is that NBC’s Sunday Night Football will need a new sideline reporter.

Kathryn Tappen is apparently the favorite, as you’d expect considering both her talent and her fill-in appearances for Tafoya during recent absences.

NBC has not decided on Tafoya’s replacement, but Kathryn Tappen is the clear leading candidate.

Next year’s NBC broadcast has the potential to look much, much different. In addition to Tafoya’s exit after a decade or so, Al Michaels has long been rumored to be moving to Amazon’s Thursday Night Football booth, a point Marchand also reiterates in his report. If that does come to fruition, that means Mike Tirico will likely take over for Michaels. (That would obviously open up a hosting slot for NBC’s Football Night in America, too, where Maria Taylor would be a logical candidate to take over the full hosting duties.)

Tafoya will still be on the sidelines this year, all the way through the very end of the NFL season as NBC has the Super Bowl in February.

[New York Post]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.