Michele Tafoya, the sideline reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts, joined Chris Gasper on Friday’s edition of the Globe’s Season Ticket podcast and discussed the NFL season, the Patriots-Broncos game, and what being a sideline reporter entails.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
On the types of information she uses for her sideline reports:
“You get about 20 seconds, 25 seconds [for each report], maybe 45 seconds in the pregame. So you do have to be succinct. But I spend time with players from both teams during the week prior to the game and I’m trying to get interesting stuff. Let’s just say ... [Steelers wide receiver] JuJu Smith-Schuster, we find out that he’s going to get his driver’s license. Just fun little things like that that are going to speak to a broad audience, or narrow things that are going to augment what Al [Michaels] and Cris [Collinsworth] are doing in the booth. And, yes, it’s breaking news. And a lot of that is injury updating and observations down on the sideline.”
On much of her reporting not making it to air:
“We’re very judicious with everything we put in the show, whether it’s graphics, whether it’s roll-ins, whatever it is. Everyone leaves the stadium after each game going, “Gosh, I had like nine other things I wanted to get on the air,” and you just can’t. Last week we were in Miami and I was set up four different times: “OK, standby Michele.” [I was] ready to do some really good storytelling. And every single time it was either, “Oops, timeout, we’re going to commercial,” or, “Someone just scored a touchdown. We’re going to roll the replay.” So you often leave with a lot of your stuff just on the ground not ever making it to air ... And it’s disappointing but it’s part of the job.
On the upcoming game between the Patriots and Broncos:
“If you look at it on paper you think, ‘Oh boy, there’s going to be a lot of storytelling in this. It could be a blowout.’ But I think you have a really prideful group of defenders in Denver that want to straighten this out ... What I would be most nervous about [if I were a Pats fan] is Von Miller and company feeling really ashamed and really embarrassed about last week and coming out with some sort of energy that could be a little dangerous.”
On her relationship to former Celtic Kevin Garnett:
“I remember he told me about his true love Brandi, whom he ended up marrying. We were at a television party together and he came up to me and he said, “Man, I really like her and I’m scared. What do I do?” And I said, “Tell her how you feel!” So, I mean, Kevin and I have gone through a lot over the years. I was there in Boston when they won the World Championship and [did] that interview, which would have gone viral if viral had been a thing back then.”
Listen to the full episode here: