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NBC’s Strange Phasing Out of Bob Costas

One of my absolute favorite sportscasters is Bob Costas. I enjoy his appearances on talk shows. He is interesting when appearing with somebody like Conan, but he gets more time in other interviews. I liked his podcast with Bill Simmons. He joined Michael Kay for a second time on CenterStage last year. I’m not a fan of the Olympics, but Costas has been just about everywhere I looked as a sports fan. Calling baseball games. Hosting studio shows for NBA and NFL coverage. He has called those sports, too. I can’t forget ring announcer at MSG for Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Much like Chris Berman, Bob’s workload has been dramatically reduced. He stepped away from the Olympic coverage, but was scheduled to be at the Super Bowl in Minnesota. As NBC’s new Olympic host, Mike Tirico would already be out of the country. Things changed. Costas, always one to speak his mind, had made comments about what football did to people’s brains. I had missed seeing Costas during NFL coverage, and was looking forward to his return. Mysteriously, Liam McHugh was given the assignment instead.

It was presented as a situation where Bob had ambivalent feelings about football. The Bill Simmons podcast just about predicted this. Simmons mentioned how NBC wanted no part of Costas and his commentaries. At the time they were discussing his absence from weekly hosting, but ultimately it appears that a fear of what could be said resulted in keeping him away from football’s biggest game. Costas makes at least seven figures and has years remaining on his contract. It’s hard to believe that he was a healthy scratch, as they say in hockey.

I would love to meet Bob one day. People come up to him and speak about random guests he had on his late night NBC show. I remember when his guest was Amy Grant. I’ll pretend that I’m not wearing an Amy Grant shirt right now. His 1989 show with Bobby Heenan was an absolute classic. I’d love to speak with him about that. Hopefully our paths will cross at some point. NBC has given him plenty of extra time these days.

Editor’s Note:


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