Michele Tafoya begins her seventh season as the sideline reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. She is the only person to be nominated for the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter in all six years of the award’s existence.
SNF has been primetime television’s #1 show for a record six consecutive years (2011-16) – tying American Idol for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on live plus same day data provided by The Nielsen Company.
In 11 seasons on NBC, Sunday Night Football has won 26 Sports Emmys, including the award for Outstanding Live Sports Series in eight of the last nine years. From the 2008-13 NFL seasons, Sunday Night Football won six consecutive Outstanding Live Sports Series honors – a Sports Emmy record – and won again following the 2015 and 2016 NFL seasons.
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 NFL season. On Dec. 13, 2015 in Houston, Tafoya worked her milestone 200th game (regular season and playoffs) on the NFL sidelines.
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 in 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.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was assigned to the swimming venue, providing reports and conducting interviews with athletes including record-setting Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.
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.
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.
In 2014, Tafoya won the Gracie Award for Outstanding On-Air Talent in a Sports Program for her work on Sunday Night Football. 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 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.