Here's What Happened Behind The Scenes At NBC When Texans Coach Gary Kubiak Collapsed

After Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field during the Sunday Night Football game, NBC received some criticism for showing highlights instead of reporting on the situation down on the field. Today, two key members of the NBC coverage went on “The Dan Patrick Show” and explained what happened behind the scenes and how they handled the chaotic situation.

10:01 PM

The scene began as the teams were leaving the field at the end of the first half and NBC went to a commercial break. It was during this break that Kubiak collapsed. Dan Patrick, the host of NBC’s “Football in America” studio show, explained that it was during the commercial break that he first realised something was wrong.

“Bob Costas says during the commercial break, ‘Get a camera down on the field, get a camera down on the field…somebody is down’,” said Patrick. “I don’t know who is down.” At this point, Patrick was informed from one of his producers that it was Kubiak.

Sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya, a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show,” explained that she was in the tunnel heading to the locker room talking with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano when she first heard from a producer that Kubiak is down on the field. Tafoya said she started “sprinting” and by the time she was back on the field, there was already a crowd of medical personnel surrounding Kubiak on the ground.

Patrick added that he can now see Tafoya running towards the area where Kubiak is on the ground and that she is being held back from getting closer.

10:04 PM

Just under three minutes after going to commercial break, NBC returned and showed this view of the scene on the field for approximately 40 seconds. During this time, Costas explained that Kubiak had collapsed and that they had no other information. Tafoya can be seen in the lower-right portion of this frame squatting down and wearing a leather jacket. Costas then sent the viewers back to the New York studio with Patrick…

At this point, NBC went back to the studio to show three minutes of highlights from other games on Sunday and to discuss which teams they think are the best in the NFL.

Patrick suggested it was his decision to err “on the side of caution” and explained this decision today. “We wanted to make sure we got it right the first time,” said Patrick. “We’re gathering information and god forbid something tragic happens and Gary Kubiak dies.”

“There are a lot of things going on in the span of about 35 seconds,” Patrick added. “Bob throwing it to us gave him time to set it up a little better [and] get to Michelle so she can get in front of a camera so we can get an update as best we could…We didn’t want to stay out there and speculate and we wanted to make sure we got information and we wanted to make sure we were fair to Gary Kubiak and his family.”

Tafoya told Patrick how she approached the moment to try and gather information. “At that point, we have absolutely nothing official,” explained Tafoya. “So all I could do is describe what I was seeing…and get as close as I could.”

Tafoya later added that reporters have to be careful in these situations. “You’re walking a very fine line in an instance like this,” said Tafoya. “I literally was thinking ‘Is this life threatening? Has he had a heart attack? Has he had a stroke?’…you have to be careful. It is such a fine line [on what can be reported]. It was a really odd and frightening experience.”

10:09 PM

After three minutes of highlights and 50 seconds of commercials, which included an NBC Winter Olympics promo, NBC returned to the field with the same view they had originally. At this point we can see Tafoya in front of a camera on the lower-left portion of the screen. However, before going to Tafoya, Costas gave a quick recap and explained that Kubiak has no known history of heart problems…

10:10 PM

As Kubiak was wheeled off the field on a stretcher, Tafoya can then be seen chasing after the stretcher before Costas sent the audience down to her for her first update. Considering the lack of information available, Tafoya shows why sideline reporters are an important aspect of sporting events. She was able to provide us with a better understanding of what was going on by describing the scene and Kubiak…

10:13 PM NBC now shows the audience a shot of Kubiak being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. [image url="" alt="Gary Kubiak" link="lightbox" size="xlarge" align="center" nocrop="true" clear="true" source="NBC Sports"] 10:14 PM Just four minutes after her first report, Tafoya had spoken with acting head coach Wade Phillips and was now able to report that the trip to the hospital for Kubiak was "purely precautionary" and that his heart "was fine." [image url="" alt="Michelle Tafoya" link="lightbox" size="xlarge" align="center" nocrop="true" clear="true" source="NBC Sports"] While the entire scene may have seemed longer on television, it only took Tafoya and the rest of the NBC crew 10 minutes to assess the situation and report it accurately to the viewers. While the decision to show highlights and commercials felt wrong in the moment and from the outside looking in, it is easy to understand why the decision was made at the time. In the end, the criticism of not staying with the story is probably easier to take than the criticism that would have come if NBC stayed with the scene and something awful had happened.

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