Super Bowl LII in February 2018 was supposed to be Bob Costas’ swan song at NBC. Instead, the longtime “Sunday Night Football” host was pulled off the game ahead of time, and he is sure about why.
Costas told ESPN’s Outside the Lines in a lengthy interview that he was taken off the Super Bowl by NBC because of sharing his opinions on the link between football, concussions and brain damage. Costas had spoken publicly about the topic in several forums in the months leading up to the game.
Additionally, Costas says the network did not allow him to deliver an essay in December 2015 about the movie “Concussion” and the relationship between brain damage and football. As the host of “Sunday Night Football,” Costas typically delivered two-minute long essays directly to his audience at halftime of the Sunday night game.
According to Costas, NBC balked at him giving the address, even though it was “a very well-written piece” because they were in the process of negotiating a deal with the league for Thursday Night Football.
“It was at that point that I realized that this was an untenable situation for me,” Costas said. “I knew my days there were numbered.”
In 2015, Bob Costas says his bosses rejected an essay he wrote about the movie "Concussion" and the link between brain damage and football. He says he was told: "We're in negotiations with the NFL for Thursday Night Football." An @OTLonESPN Exclusive: https://t.co/zFJEGK2cPV
— Mark Fainaru-Wada (@markfwespn) February 10, 2019
The NFL says it did not ask NBC to remove Costas from the Super Bowl LII broadcast. Still, the fallout caused Costas’ tenure with the network to end earlier than expected.
The entire Costas piece with OTL is compelling, and dives much deeper into his career and the issues with football and head injuries.
You can read it here.