Tafoya working 250th NFL game as sideline reporter

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              In this Nov. 19, 2017, file photo NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya reports before an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Tafoya will work her 250th NFL game as a sideline reported on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium when the Cowboys host the Giants. That's one of the favorite venues for Tafoya, who also has done games for ABC and ESPN and now is with NBC. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins, File)
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Michele Tafoya will work her 250th NFL game as a sideline reporter on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium when the Cowboys host the Giants.

That’s one of the favorite venues for Tafoya , who also has done games for ABC and ESPN and now is with NBC.

“Dallas is a lot of fun, a completely different atmosphere than, say, Lambeau Field,” she says. “It’s like a big party in there. There are people at field level, club seats, music, dancers, all of it making it a party atmosphere.”

It’s also an indoor facility, and that’s a key for Tafoya — or any sideline reporter working football games.

Indeed, one of the first things she checks out when the Sunday night schedule is released by the NFL is how many outdoor games she will have in cold weather, and how many indoor overall.

“The elements are probably always the biggest challenge,” she explains. “We worked the third-coldest game in NFL history, the Seattle-Minnesota playoff game when the Vikings were playing at the University of Minnesota. It was very cold, so we tried to get things in a situation where we had some hot soup to warms us up. You really learn how to layer clothes. I get those hot inserts in the boots to keep warm, you can have a battery in the gloves. You really learn which parkas are warm and which look warm and really are not.”

The real test in such conditions is, well, doing what Tafoya is paid to do: talking.

“Just trying to speak in that cold, it’s very difficult,” she says, almost shivering at the thought even though it’s still summer. “Your face is so cold, your nose is frozen, your mouth is freezing, and you’re trying not to shiver and trying to get out a coherent sentence.

“Rain stinks, it’s impossible to take notes. You try to stay camera ready, which is really impossible.

“You just learn a lot of tricks along the way.”