NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Dan Orlovsky are no strangers to the screen, swapping the television screen for a computer screen in a Zoom call with the UConn student body. Hosted by the Student Union Board of Governors and moderated by sixth-semester sports management student, Noam Watt, Schefter and Orlovsky shared their insights into the world of football, both on the field and in the office.
Schefter, a graduate of the University and Michigan and Northwestern University, has been working in football for more than 30 years, beginning his reporting career in 1990. Schefter has been a football analyst with ESPN since 2009 and has since been a top insider for the NFL, with practically every high-ranking NFL official saved in his cell phone contacts.
Orlovsky is a UConn alumnus himself, having played for Coach Randy Edsall in the early 2000s when the UConn football team was barely in existence. In 2005, he was drafted into the NFL by the Detroit Lions. He played for 12 seasons, spending time as a Houston Texan, an Indianapolis Colt, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and a Los Angeles Ram.
As a Husky himself, Orlovsky was asked how he felt about the current UConn football program.
“I think going independent was smart,” Orlovsky said. “I’ve been outspoken about that because one, I think college realignment is coming. Conference realignment is absolutely coming again. I get to go and talk to these power five coaches all the time. It’s going to happen.”
As a basketball school, Orlovsky admitted that the football team’s fate depends on the success of the basketball teams.
“At the end of the day,” Orlovsky said, “What happens with the football program will be very much dependent on what Dan Hurley [head coach of the UConn men’s basketball team] does with the basketball program. I constantly remind people, when we jumped into the Big East, as a football program, we stunk. The only reason we got in there was because the basketball program was really good and that made the program appealing.”
The discussion shifted focus to the current NFL season in the aftermath of free agent week and the upcoming draft at the end of April.
“There’s no single week that I dread, even though I look forward to it to a certain extent, as much as free agent week … The weight of the football world sits on my shoulder because you are charged with kind of babysitting 32 teams.”Adam Schefter
“There’s no single week that I dread, even though I look forward to it to a certain extent, as much as free agent week,” Schefter said. “The weight of the football world sits on my shoulder because you are charged with kind of babysitting 32 teams.”
Schefter admitted that he has needed to be on his phone around the clock, hoping to catch the latest trades or moves made at the exact moment they occur.
When asked about their predictions for this year’s season, both admitted that it’s anyone’s season and all teams have hope entering the draft.
“Just take a look at the standings, and all the teams that finished at the bottom and anyone of them has a chance, because that’s how the league works, it doesn’t repeat itself from year to year, it just doesn’t work like that.”
“I mean that’s one of the reasons why I like the NFL,” Orlovsky said. “I think it’s the best because every fan base sits here today, in March, and leads into the draft with hope.”
When asked to offer some advice for any students looking to enter the sports industry, Schefter and Orlowsky admitted that the best advice for students entering the working world is not limited to one field but actually applies to every career path.
“The principles are the same in any line of work,” Schefter said. “Once you put in the door, you work around the clock, make yourself indispensable, conduct yourself with the highest level of reliability, availability, performance. You study the job and learn from the job. You watch other people, you immerse yourself in it, whether that’s in journalism, finance, law, medicine. It’s the same everywhere.”
“You got to be obligated to the person looking back in the mirror.” Orlovsky said. “You’ve got to be honest and obligated to yourself when it comes to this world.”
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