(RoyalPatriot.com )- Live on the Super Bowl broadcast on NBC Sunday night, host Al Michaels said goodbye to sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, who will be leaving the network.
Tafoya has been a sideline reporter for the NFL at various networks throughout her career. But, she’s hanging up her sports sideline credentials to work for a Republican candidate’s bid to win the governorship in Minnesota.
On Sunday, Tafoya said it was her own “decision” to decide to take a step away from sideline reporting to move into politics. She’ll be serving as the co-chair of the campaign for Kendall Qualls in Minnesota.
Qualls, a Republican, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a businessman who is seeking to become governor of Minnesota. Media outlet The Athletic also reported that Tafoya will indeed take part in the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference, which is currently scheduled to be held at the end of February.
Tafoya initially had plans to leave sports broadcasting after the NFL season back in 2019. However, her good friend Fred Gaudelli, who is also the executive producer of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” asked that she remain in that position with the network until after Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI.
In commenting to The Athletic about her career path, Tafoya said:
“This is all my decision. Everyone at NBC will back me up on that. They have always told me I can stay as long as I want. For me, I have to make my move while I’ve still got the energy to do other things and have an impact. I don’t want to wait.
“I got to a point in my life where I wanted to try other things, and there are some things that are really important to me. But, in my position, I was not as free to be as vocal about world events that I’m concerned about.”
In other words, Tafoya was hamstrung on what she could and could not comment on outside of sports and the NFL by NBC, and she wanted to be free to express her opinions on things that mattered most to her.
Tafoya has been on the sideline for more than 320 games in the NFL, which includes five different Super Bowls. She clarified that her decision to make the move to politics was “not because I was told to shut up.”
Instead, she said she was really excited about working for a well-known and respected programs like “Sunday Night Football,” which has risen to the top of prime-time rankings for more than 10 years now.
“The last thing they want to do is invite controversy.”
While Tafoya will be working directly in politics For Qualls’ campaign, she told The Athletic that her long-term career hopes are to be a part of a weekly show that would discuss topics such as politics as well as other interests in everyday life.
Qualls announced in January that he would be running for governor in Minnesota. In 2020, he lost a bid to join Congress representing the 3rd district in Minnesota.