Costas, who hosted nearly every imaginable sporting event from the Olympics to the Kentucky Derby, has historically played a key role in the NFL's role in the concussion crisis. But the remarks made a year ago at a journalism symposium had gone too far for his bosses.
The comments quickly became viral, causing NBC to make a statement stating that Costas & # 39; opinions were his own and the unrepresented views of NBC Sports. Costas also went to CNN at the time, "to make it clear that he does not criticize NBC," according to the ESPN report. NBC pulled him out of the Super Bowl LII anyway, Costas said.
"I recall the phrase," It's a six-hour celebration of football, and you're not the right person to celebrate football, "Costas told ESPN," but I did not answer "Oh please, please change your opinion. "My answer was," Yes, I think you're right. "
An NFL spokesman told ESPN that the league has not asked to pull Costas off the air.
Costas told ESPN that he wrote an essay in 2015 on the release of the movie "Concussion," which was killed by NBC Sports because the network was in negotiations with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football. "Concussion" is a sports drama about the doctor who discovered the connection between CTE and head trauma and the NFL's efforts to discredit its research. Costas wanted to use the release of the film to tackle the problem on national television.
"It was a natural introduction," Costas told ESPN. "I thought the film would have an impact, and I thought that this was not just a way for NBC to confirm that, but also to get out of it." TV partners. In a highly fragmented television landscape, the NFL is the largest rating Juggernaut. Networks pay the League billions of dollars for the right to broadcast their games. Even as ratings went down in recent seasons, NFL games were among the most watched events on television. The regular season of NFL viewers grew by around 5% in 2018 compared to the previous year, attracting an average of 15.8 million viewers.