Melissa Stark is a woman with many hats that she wears fabulously. The sportscaster, NFL show host, and married mother of four is a woman you want to know.
Melissa Stark Is a Veteran on the Sidelines
Stark has graced the sidelines of NFL games as an interviewer since 2022. This isn’t a new location for Melissa; she was also a sideline reporter from 2000 to 2002, but it is the first time in a long time.
In 2023, we will see Stark working as an NBC Sunday Night Football sideline interviewer in addition to her role as co-host on NFL 360. Stark does it all, so don’t be surprised if she pops up elsewhere throughout the season too.
Don’t miss Stark on the sidelines of the season opener on Thursday Night Football, when the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions face off.
— melissa stark (@melissastark) September 6, 2023
Where Did Stark Go?
Stark wasn’t entirely absent from the entertainment world for 20 years after becoming a household name when she was the sideline reporter for MNF with Al Michaels and John Madden for three seasons.
Stark co-hosted many shows over the years, including National Geographic’s Geography Bee in 2012, Weekend Today, and The View.
Stark also covered a wide array of sports events like the Olympics, horse races, the Stanley Cup Finals, the Super Bowl, and more.
Melissa’s career did take a backseat after the 2002 season. She was pregnant with her first-born child, Jackson, on MNF, and she told People in an interview that she had decided she didn’t want to leave her son and travel on the road once the baby was born.
Stark Embraces Full-Time Motherhood
Juggling projects and motherhood no longer felt like a viable option for Stark.
“Four kids under four was a lot. So I basically said, ‘I’m going to leave the career — I’ll leave this profession to be with my family to be a full-time mom.’ And I never really knew at that time if I’d get back.”
Stark told People that she was OK with forfeiting her career for her new favorite season in life.
“I absolutely love being a mom. That’s my No. job, No. role.”
However, now that Stark’s children are teenagers, she feels comfortable returning to a more active role. Michele Tafoya left, leaving a slot for Stark to re-enter her role as a sideline interviewer last season.
— melissa stark (@melissastark) September 12, 2022
Viewing sports as her version of reality television, Melissa could not wait to get back out there:
“There’s nothing that compares to the adrenaline of being on the sideline at the game under the lights.”
Stark is an inspiration for many women in the sports media industry. She was brave enough to attempt a sports media career in the early 2000s when women were less common than they are now.
After becoming pregnant, Stark decided what motherhood would look like for her and completely embraced that stage of her life. Then, at 48 years old, she was willing to rejoin the sports world.
That was particularly brave, considering that sports media and the media in general glorify women’s youth and physical appearance. Stark is absolutely beautiful, but the media is not forgiving, and her courage is a great example for all women out there.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) September 7, 2022
Welcome back, Melissa Stark! NFL fans are lucky to have you.