When NBC televised last year’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, the network’s most recognizable sportscaster was nowhere to be seen.
The reason, according to 40-year NBC Sports veteran Bob Costas, goes back to comments he made about the NFL’s concussion problems more than two years earlier.
A lengthy report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines delves into the details of an increasingly uneasy relationship between Costas and professional football — and how it got him into trouble with his longtime employer.
In December 2015, as the movie “Concussion” was about to be released, NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast was in Pittsburgh for a game between the Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
As Costas was preparing his weekly halftime essay, he noted a connection with former Steelers great Mike Webster, who was a prominent figure in the movie.
“It was a natural lead-in,” Costas told OTL. “I thought that the movie would make an impact, and I thought this was a way not only for NBC to acknowledge it, but to get out in front of it.”
He told ESPN he took the unusual step of submitting his essay in advance to NBC Sports execs.
But he was told he couldn’t air it because the network was bidding for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package.
“It was at that point that I realized that this was an untenable situation for me,” he said. “I knew my days there were numbered.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Steve Gardner