There is no doubt in my mind that Michelle Tafoya is one of the greatest sideline reporters and sports journalists to ever work the craft.
The Sunday Night Football reporter who just finished reporting for the Super Bowl on NBC spoke with TheFootballGirl.com about her career and had some interesting things to say when asked about whether she ever wants to do play-by-play:
My personal belief is that at this moment in history NFL fans want the sport - it’s a kinda violent, kinda rugged, very masculine sport – and I think that calls for a male voice to narrate it for you. That’s just me and I may make a lot of people, a lot of women, angry with that statement. It’s not a sexist thing. To me, the voice I want accompanying this sport is a male voice.
When asked whether she would ever want to participate in the analysis of a football game in the booth, she said:
I would love to be part of a three-person booth. Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and me in the booth, and I can chime in.
I'm surprised at how honest she was. She unfortunately spelled out the realities of the typical football fan and the way they perceive sports commentators of a different gender. Pam Ward, who calls college football games for ESPN, is ridiculed and criticized on a consistent basis. The only women I've seen break the mold and do something different on sports television are Ashley Fox, an ESPN reporter who does analysis on NFL Insiders as well as Anita Marks and Amy Trask, who analyze plays on CBS Sports Network's TOPS.
How long will it take before sports fans stop caring about eye candy and start caring about intelligence and poise on camera? We're starting to see a movement towards this direction but it's taking longer than expected. If there's anyone more prepared to call or analyze games, I think it would be Michelle Tafoya.