Bob Costas confirms NBC fired him from Super Bowl for talking concussions

Ruben Hill
February 12, 2019

After months of behind-the-scenes interviews with ESPN, Costas confirms what many suspected at the time, that his increasingly critical commentary about the NFL and the sport of football's links to concussions and long-term brain trauma were the reason he was abruptly removed from the NBC Sports broadcasting team. "Everyone walks on eggshells around the NFL", Costas said.

Costas told ESPN that he quickly received the "crossed the line" text from NBC and soon thereafter was axed from the Super Bowl broadcast. "'My thought was, 'What line have I crossed?" "It destroys their brains".

Costas said he previously had agreed with NBC that Super Bowl LII in 2018 would be his last involvement in football, but that the network eventually reached out and told him he would be removed from their Super Bowl coverage. NBC pulled him from the Super Bowl LII telecast anyway, according to Costas.

"I recall the phrase, 'It's a six-hour, daylong celebration of football, and you're not the right person to celebrate football, '" Costas says. "To which my response was not, 'Oh please, please, change your mind.' My response was, 'Yeah, I guess you're right'".

After the Will Smith film Concussion, that looked at the issue of head trauma in the National Football League, broadcaster Bob Costas took it upon himself to become an advocate for concussion research. "It was a natural lead-in", Costas remarked to ESPN's Outside the Lines.

"And I think NBC Sports deserves credit for this". But the implication was that networks are nervous to offend the league in case it leaves them hanging during the next broadcast rights negotiations. "And it isn't even close".

NBC, for whom Costas had worked since 1979, immediately distanced itself from the comments and Costas attempted to clarify his stance.

"I've been saying these things for the better part of a decade, and often on NBC, in front of the biggest audience not just in all of sports, but in all of television-'Sunday Night Football, '" he told host Michael Smerconish. "We're very disappointed that after 40 years with NBC, he has chosen to mischaracterize and share these private interactions after his departure".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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