Michele Tafoya
Tafoya in 2021
Born1964 or 1965 (age 59–60)[1]
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Southern California
Years active1993–2022
SpouseMark Vandersall
AwardsFive-time Sports Emmy Award winner

Michele Tafoya (born 1964/1965)[1] is a freelance reporter and retired sports broadcaster and advisor. She hosts the podcast Sideline Sanity. From 2011 to 2022, she was a reporter for NBC Sports, primarily as a sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football. She currently works as a conservative political advisor and makes television appearances on talk shows discussing the state of American politics and culture.

Early life

Tafoya is the daughter of Wilma (née Conley) and Orlando Tafoya.[1][2] She is of Hispanic descent.[2] She has one brother and three sisters.[2] She attended Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California.[3] She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988, and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California in 1991.[4]


Tafoya worked as a host and reporter for KFAN-AM in Minneapolis, primarily for Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota women's basketball broadcasts. She worked for WAQS (now WFNZ) in Charlotte, where she went by the name Mickey Conley.[5] Conley is her mother's maiden name.[1]

Tafoya also worked for the Midwest Sports Channel, serving as a Minnesota Timberwolves host and sideline reporter, as well as a play-by-play commentator for women's Big Ten basketball and volleyball.[citation needed] Tafoya then spent three years at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis as a sports anchor and reporter.[citation needed]

CBS Sports

Tafoya joined CBS Sports in September 1994 as a reporter and host for the CBS Television Network's sports anthology show CBS Sports Spectacular and college basketball coverage. She served as a host of At The Half and as a reporter for college football games. She made her on-air debut at the 1994 U.S. Open Tennis Championships.[6]

In 1997, The American Women in Radio and Television honored Tafoya with a Gracie Award for "Outstanding Achievement by an Individual On-Air TV Personality" for her play-by-play calling of WNBA games on Lifetime Television.[6] Tafoya served as a reporter for the network's coverage of the NFL, college football—including the 1998 National Championship Orange Bowl—and was late-night co-host with Al Trautwig of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.[citation needed] In addition to her diverse assignments, Tafoya hosted CBS's NCAA Tournament selection show, Goodwill Games and the U.S Open Tennis Championships coverage. She left CBS at the end of 1999, after five years with the network.[citation needed]

ABC Sports and ESPN

Tafoya joined ESPN and ABC Sports in January 2000, working as a sideline reporter for ABC Sports' Monday Night Football during the 2004 NFL season and the 2005 NFL season before the program shifted to ESPN; she worked the sideline for ESPN Monday Night Football beginning in 2006. Tafoya was a co-host for the Mike Tirico Show on ESPN radio. She helped ABC in its coverage of Super Bowl XL in Detroit as a sideline reporter with Suzy Kolber.[citation needed]

She was loaned to NBC Sports for the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a Reporter for Rhythmic Gymnastics and as the play-by-play woman for softball.

On October 10, 2003, Tafoya poured beer over two fans beneath her luxury box at the Metrodome during a University of Minnesota versus University of Michigan game. Tafoya admitted to losing her composure and said she was embarrassed over the incident. She also issued a public apology.[7][8]

Tafoya formerly worked at NBA games on ABC and ESPN. On October 21, 2008, she announced she would be resigning from her duties as head NBA sideline reporter.[9]

Tafoya's other previous roles included a stint as the men's and women's NCAA basketball play-by-play and studio host and as a college football and basketball sideline reporter. She also has served as a substitute host on Pardon the Interruption and as a panelist on The Sports Reporters II. Her other ESPN assignments have included calling WNBA games as well as hosting skiing telecasts and working on ESPN's college basketball selection shows as a reporter. She also was a correspondent for SportsCenter and Outside the Lines.

In 2006, the Davie-Brown Index ranked Tafoya among the most likable TV sports personalities, including Biggest Trend-Setter.[citation needed] At the end of the 2010-2011 NFL season, she left ESPN for NBC Sports.[citation needed]

Return to WCCO

Tafoya was announced as the new evening drive time talk radio host for WCCO-AM on April 19, 2009.[10] Her show began on June 1, 2009, where she teamed with afternoon host and lead-in Don Shelby on the schedule from 3-3:30 p.m., with Tafoya taking over from 3:30-6 p.m.[10] Her hosting ended on Friday, January 27, 2012.[11] She made the decision ahead of her schedule becoming busier with the Super Bowl and London Olympics.[11]

KQRS Radio

Tafoya joined "The KQ Morning Show" on KQRS-FM as co-host with long-time KQ morning personality Tom Barnard on September 8, 2016.[12] She left the KQRS morning show in March 2020.[12] The team dynamics were well received.[13]

NBC Sports

Michele Tafoya as sideline reporter for NBC Sports in January 2021

On May 4, 2011, Tafoya was announced as the new sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football, replacing Andrea Kremer and rejoining former co-worker and announcer Al Michaels.[14] Tafoya has also covered swimming during the Summer Olympics for NBC.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that Tafoya would leave Sunday Night Football following the 2021 season.[15] On January 11, 2022, NBC confirmed in a press release that Tafoya would depart the network, with Super Bowl LVI as her final assignment, to pursue other opportunities.[16]


On February 14, 2022, a day after her departure from NBC Sports, Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls announced Tafoya would be joining his campaign as co-chair.[17]

Personal life

Tafoya had three pregnancies of four children end in miscarriage before carrying her son to term.[18] She and her husband, Mark Vandersall, have a natural son and an adopted daughter.[18][9] The family lives in Edina, Minnesota.[9] In 2007, she told WCCO-TV that she had been struggling with an eating disorder since she was a child.[19]

Tafoya describes herself as a "pro-choice conservative with libertarian leanings".[20]

Career timeline


  1. ^ a b c d Nelson, Kate (January 12, 2018). "An Uncensored Interview with Michele Tafoya". Artful Living. The 53-year-old California native has called the Twin Cities home for nearly a quarter of a century, ever since a job at KFAN sports radio brought her to the frozen tundra...."Conley" happened because they didn't think Tafoya was going to work well; they thought it was too ethnic. So I used my mom's maiden name.
  2. ^ a b c Jacobs, Melissa (January 31, 2018). "Super Bowl 52 Q&A: NBC's Michele Tafoya". thefootballgirl.com. 'I'm a Hispanic and I'm a female and look at how great this is for me.' I say, "'I'm Michele Tafoya. My mom is Wilma, My dad was Orlando. I have a brother and three sisters.
  3. ^ "Hall Of Fame". Mira Costa High School Alumni. October 11, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  4. ^ "Michele Tafoya". NBC Sports. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  5. ^ Washburn, Mark (May 4, 2004). "Tafoya lands 'MNF' sideline role". Charlotte Observer. p. 2C. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Doody, Ben (September 4, 2014). "Michele Tafoya: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved February 12, 2017. ...worked as a WNBA commentator on Lifetime from 1997-99
  7. ^ Hoffman, Bill (October 17, 2003). "REPORTER'S PRETTY POUR SHOWING". The New York Post. Retrieved February 12, 2017. I am so regretful, I can't even tell you.
  8. ^ Weyler, John (November 3, 2003). "She Quickly Brought Matters to a Head". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ a b c Zulgad, Judd (October 21, 2008). "Tafoya gives up NBA duties". Timberwolves. Star Tribune. Archived from the original on October 24, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Gustafson, Amy Carlson - Michele Tafoya gets WCCO-AM drive-time slot. TwinCities.com Pioneer Press, April 19, 2009
  11. ^ a b Michele Tafoya Ending Show On WCCO Radio. CBS News, January 24, 2012
  12. ^ a b Venta, Lance - Michelle Tafoya Exits KQRS Morning Show. Radio Insight, March 9, 2020
  13. ^ Tafoya & Barnard Proving To Be Electric Pairing For KQRS. CBS News, November 21, 2016
  14. ^ "Michele Tafoya Joins "Sunday Night Football" As Sideline Reporter". TV By the Numbers. May 4, 2011. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  15. ^ Marchand, Andrew (December 14, 2021). "Michele Tafoya done with sideline reporting after this NFL season". New York Post. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  16. ^ Young, Ryan (January 11, 2022). "Michele Tafoya leaving NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' after Super Bowl LVI". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  17. ^ Justin, Neal (February 14, 2022). "Michele Tafoya signs off from final Super Bowl with little fanfare, jumps into politics". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "After Four Miscarriages, Michele Tafoya got Pregnant at the age of 40: Mother's Sacrifice for Her Baby: Married life, Husband". LIVERAMPUP. April 30, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  19. ^ "Michele Tafoya's Struggle with Eating Disorders". News. WCCO-TV. November 16, 2007. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  20. ^ "Michele Tafoya on Working 200th NFL Game". SI.com. Time Inc. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "ESPN Press Room". ESPN Press Room U.S. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2023.