Who is Kathryn Tappen? Meet Michele Tafoya's 'successor' for 'Sunday Night Football'
Kathryn Tappen has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Michele Tafoya as NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' analyst for the next season. Andrew Marchand of The Washington Post reported that Tafoya has opted to quit the program at the end of this season and that Tappen, who has been filling in for Tafoya for the past three weeks, is the probable candidate to take her place.
Tappen, 40, who is known for her humour, formerly worked as an anchor for NHL Network for four years and NESN for five years. She was born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey, and attended Rutgers University, where she participated in cross country and track and field. She was an Academic All-American and held the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for women at one time.
Tappen has worked at four Olympics as a host or reporter for NBC. She's also a sideline reporter for Notre Dame football and hosts Peacock's 'Sunday Night Football' studio coverage.
In a 2018 interview with Rutgers Magazine, Tappen spoke about working sidelines for Notre Dame. “Each week I feel like such a part of the game, even though I get less air time because I am constantly giving information and I am listening, and so much preparation goes into that game, So, I love doing both roles [hosting and sideline reporting] because they are totally different. I am challenged by each one in so many ways, and I am the type of person who has to be challenged from the moment I wake up.”
She added, “I am a complete goofball, which is rarely displayed on television because we are all so professional, But I like to make jokes and have fun. There is a term my mother applied to me as a kid — ‘Kathrynisms.’ All of my coworkers know exactly what this term means: there are these things that come out of my mouth that come from thoughts that only I am capable of thinking.”
Tappen is also involved in a lot of charity activities. She serves on the board of the Marine Raider Foundation, which helps active-duty and medically retired Marines, as well as their families, who have lost loved ones. She also donates his time to the Guide Dog Foundation, which pairs guide dogs with the blind and visually impaired, and America's VetDogs, which trains service dogs for military veterans and handicapped first responders.