Who Is Kathryn Tappen, NBC’s New NFL Sideline Reporter?

Football fans will be introduced to NBC’s Kathryn Tappen in a big way this weekend.

For a mixture of reasons, including the rescheduled game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, which was supposed to happen on Thanksgiving, there are two NBC-produced football games in Week 12.

The ‘A’ team will take the first game, that matchup between the Ravens and Steelers. A ‘B’ team, including veteran announcer Mike Tirico and legendary head coach Tony Dungy, will handle the second game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Here is everything you need to know about Kathryn Tappen, who will work the sidelines in the late game.

Kathryn Tappen is a veteran NHL reporter

Originally from Morristown, N.J., Kathryn Tapper attended Rutgers and ran cross-country and track. 

Tapper earned Academic All-American honors four times as a Scarlet Knight. Majoring in journalism, Tappen opted for a media career and started at College Sports Television, which later rebranded itself as CBS Sports Network. 

Tappen later worked at WJAR in Providence, R.I., and NESN, the New England Sports Network. Tappen got her big break in 2011, when she joined the NHL Network and hosted NHL Tonight

Interestingly, Tappen covered the NHL while married to then-New Jersey Devils defenseman Jay Leach, who played in the NHL from 2005-11. The two divorced in 2014.

After a few years at the NHL Network, Tappen moved to NBC in the summer of 2014. She has remained a focal point of the network’s NHL coverage.

Tappen also appears on NBC’s Notre Dame football coverage

Notre Dame football fans are already familiar with Kathryn Tappen.

The ‘B’ team that will work the Bears-Packers game on Sunday night already works Notre Dame football games. Mike Tirico does the play-by-play, while former Colts head coach Tony Dungy handles the color commentary.

Tirico has handled the play-by-play role since 2016, while Dungy is in his first role as the color commentator.

Tirico worked with Doug Flutie, who now is a studio analyst, in his first four seasons.

Tappen is making her NFL coverage debut in Week 12


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Kathryn Tappen was always slated to make her NFL debut in Week 12.

Initially, NBC intended to give the ‘A’ team the Sunday game off. Al Michaels would have had the entire week to himself, while color commentator Cris Collinsworth and sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya were only scheduled to work the Thursday game with Mike Tirico.

Then, COVID-19 hit, but not in a way that directly affected anyone’s health at NBC. An outbreak in the Baltimore Ravens’ building pushed their Thursday matchup against the Steelers to next Tuesday.

Michaels, Collinsworth, and Tafoya will all work that game, which is scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff on Tuesday, December 1. The ‘B’ team that calls Notre Dame football games — Tirico, Tony Dungy, and Tappen — will call tonight’s game.

It is not yet known if the ‘A’ team will receive a week off later in the season. Notre Dame’s regular season ends on December 12, barring any cancellations.

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