DETROIT – Dan Orlovsky retired in 2017 and in that short time, he’s become ESPN’s go-to guy in the booth and in the studio.
It all started when he would post videos on social media breaking down plays. Those posts led to guest appearances on TV, then in 2018 ESPN offered him a full-time gig. Orlovsky said he’s loving it.
“I work really hard,” Orlovsky said. “I’m a believer in, if you put the work in, you reap the benefits of it.”
Orlovsky does studio work on all things NFL, plus he does live college games. I asked him about his schedule. He said it’s hectic.
“On Sundays starting at 1 p.m, I watch games uninterrupted until 11:30 at night with Sunday Night Football,” he said. “I take notes, I go to bed, I wake up at 3 AM and hop in car. I watch two games on repeat from night before as I drive to NYC.”
He then works on shows at ESPN, comes home in time for his kids to get home from school, then he watches Monday Night Football and takes more notes. It’s back to NYC Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about it all. Wednesday is also when he begins the transition to the college game he’s covering that week. He memorizes depth charts, meets with coaches and watches tape.
When asked about people on Twitter questioning his preparation:
“That’s usually one person out of 5,000,” he said. “It does get to me, I’m human.”
Despite some bad eggs on Twitter, Orlovsky is feeling the love from fans and from those at ESPN. There’s a rumor he could have the spot on the new Monday Night Football Team.
We talked before that came out.
It’s a great second career for the 12-year NFL veteran who said he still can’t shake the play, THE play, so he tries to have fun with it.
“That was play was 12 years ago, if I were still hung up on it, I have an issue,” Orlovsky said. “I also played for seven more seasons. People repetitively go to it. I try to laugh. It’s the play I’m most notorious for.”
As for the Lions, his favorite team, and for Matthew Stafford, Orlovsky’s good friend, he said his so serious about his job, he tries always be honest in his analysis of both.
“If I continue to toot Stafford’s horn and he’s playing poorly, I’m not doing my job,” He said. “I still believe he’s an outstanding quarterback and he was proving it last year before the injury.”
Orlovsky said a healthy Stafford is step one to get the Lions back to the playoffs. Step two, draft well. He believes the last one was Bob Quinn’s best.
“You can make the case that they were one of the teams that got four starters in first four rounds,” he said of Jeff Okudah, D’Andre Swift, Julian Okwara, and Jonah Jackson. “That’s a big deal. I thought it was a really strong draft.”
Step three is to tighten up the defense.
“They have to play better on defense, Matt Patricia’s calling card,” Orlovsky said. “I still think they’re still going through a culture transition and it’s rubbing guys the wrong way. There is a saying in NFL, winning covers everything. Once you’re winning, you can have disagreements with coaches or whatever, it will be covered up. The Lions need to win and win early next season.”
As for if there will be games to play come fall? Orlovsky believes the NFL season will start on time.
“The window for guys to make their money is three-to-five years,” he said. “I think guys will say, ‘you tell me when and where to be, I’ll quarantine myself.’ I think we will have the season.”
For now, Orlovsky is broadcasting from his house in Connecticut. He’s spending time with his wife and four kids and he’s enjoying every minute.
As for his friendship with Stafford?
“Matthew and I are very good friends,” Orlovsky said. “But he also canceled on me for a golf trip this year. If he were that close, he wouldn’t have bailed on our golf trip.”
Orlovsky said when they do play, he has a bunch of Stafford’s money in his wallet when it’s over.