1. NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya will return to the network’s telecast of this Sunday’s Saints-Bucs game after a three-week absence.
People have been wildly speculating that NBC pulled Tafoya because of a controversial Nov. 3 appearance on The View.
For some reason, the combination of conspiracy theorists and disingenuous people who are just trying to get clicks, are totally ignoring the fact that Tafoya worked the sidelines for NBC on Nov. 7, 14 and 21.
She was then off on Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. NBC has made it clear this was planned time off for Tafoya and it issued this statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“As we have done repeatedly, we’re again giving our announcers bye weeks in 2021, and we plan to do it well into the future. Michele’s off weeks–which were determined prior to the season–were all in cold weather cities after Thanksgiving, and her final weekend off this season comes on Jan. 2 in Green Bay. Any other speculation about her time off is blatantly false.”
The story took a twist Tuesday when the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported that this will be Tafoya’s last season with NBC.
According to Marchand, Tafoya decided to leave her current gig.
However, those same disingenuous people I mentioned earlier, are now running with the narrative that NBC has fired Tafoya.
What I find most curious about all this is the radio silence from Tafoya. The Post story said Tafoya could not be immediately reached for comment.
However, this has been a story all week and Tafoya hasn’t said a word publicly. Why not issue a statement saying you weren’t suspended by NBC? Why not issue a statement backing up NBC’s statement? Why not issue a statement explaining that you worked for three straight weeks after The View appearance and that your time off was determined months ago?
A cynic might think Tafoya or Tafoya’s camp likes the perception that NBC took action against her. A cynic might think Tafoya or Tafoya’s camp likes that some believe she’s a victim. A cynic might think Tafoya or Tafoya’s camp thinks this narrative sets her up nicely for whatever her next job might be.
2. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with Troy Aikman.
Fox's lead NFL analyst explains why he'd like to see a Patriots vs. Bucs/Bill Belichick vs. Tom Brady Super Bowl this year and what the game would mean for each guy. Aikman also reveals insight into what Aaron Rodgers is going through while playing with a fractured toe, what's going on with Dak Prescott and the Cowboys and the unusual amount of terrible, unwatchable teams this season.
The Hall of Fame quarterback also addresses rumors than he may team up with Al Michaels to call games on Amazon next season, shares his side of the famous story involving Joe Buck urinating into a bottle during a game and tells us whether he dreaded calling Bears-Lions on Thanksgiving.
The podcast closes with the weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment with Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV. This week, we discussed the possibility of that Patriots-Bucs Super Bowl, the Urban Meyer disaster in Jacksonville, that horrible trailer for the upcoming Netflix movie featuring Kevin James as Sean Payton and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
3. As I said to Troy Aikman on this week's SI Media Podcast, the Giants might be the most unwatchable team in the NFL this season. They are at least in the bottom three.
So I'm not sure this gesture will smooth things over with their fans.
Let's check in to see how Giants fans feel about this.
4. That was such an all-time performance by Travis Kelce last night (10 catches, 191 yards, two touchdowns) that the NFL's Twitter page had to take action.
And you can't blame them based on Kelce's out-of-this-world performance.
5. Speaking of the Chiefs' 34–28 overtime win against the Chargers on Thursday night, this is pretty bonkers. The Good Morning Football crew pretty much correctly predicted every single thing that happened in the game.
6. New Jaguars coach Darrell Bevell was caught off guard by a question at his press conference yesterday, and it was pretty amusing.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I'm still shook after seeing this video yesterday.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.