NFL Live, the weekday pro football news and information show that has been a staple of ESPN programming since 1998, will have a brand new cast and time (4 p.m. ET) starting today.
Laura Rutledge, a mainstay on ESPN’s college sports coverage, Get Up and more the past six years, is the new host of NFL Live. A lifelong NFL fan who grew up in Atlanta rooting for the Falcons, Rutledge calls her new role “a dream come true.”
In addition to now covering both the NFL and college football – she will continue to host SEC Network’s SEC Nation pregame show on fall Saturdays – Rutledge will reunite with many of her favorite analyst friends from Get Up – Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky, Mina Kimes, Keyshawn Johnson and Ryan Clark.
Rutledge, who discusses her career journey on Adam Schefter’s recent podcast, previews what to expect from the new NFL Live and what she is looking forward to during her first NFL season.
I always remind myself of that when talking about these athletes. They are someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s dad. – Laura Rutledge regarding storytelling and the athletes she covers
Do you have a favorite memory of watching or attending an NFL game?
One of my first dates with my husband, Josh, was a Saints game. The atmosphere in the Superdome is so electric. We were in the nosebleeds, but it was a blast. I also loved being on the sideline for Monday Night Football. It’s a thrill I’ll never forget. I covered Sam Darnold’s debut [in 2018], and the image of his family on the field pre-game will always stick with me. His mom was extremely emotional, and you could see the nerves and excitement in his entire family’s eyes. I always remind myself of that when talking about these athletes. They are someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s dad.
What NFL storyline intrigues you most about the new season?
There is so much this year. Tom Brady seems to be in “prove doubters wrong” mode, which is scary for the rest of the NFL. Can’t wait to see what he does in Tampa. I’ll have my eyes on the Packers too. How do they use [rookie quarterback] Jordan Love, and what can Aaron Rodgers do to continue to elevate skill guys when his team drafted another QB?
What are your goals for NFL Live?
NFL Live is one of the most respected pure football shows around. We want to continue that tradition. Our show will be centered around the football news of the day, taking fans inside the schemes and game-planning they might not otherwise know and having a whole lot of fun along the way. Highlights, breakdowns, predictions, and good ole football talk is what you can expect from us.
We have tons of fun together, which I’m sure you’ll see on screen, but what I’m most proud of is the commitment to hard work shown by every single person on this show. – Rutledge on her NFL Live castmates
What are your thoughts on your new NFL Live teammates?
I’m most excited about working with people who I genuinely consider to be great friends. Mina, Marcus, Dan, Keyshawn and Ryan are all wonderful humans, and I’m honored to know them. They are also downright hilarious. We’ve had a group text going for a while now that makes me laugh every single day. We have tons of fun together, which I’m sure you’ll see on screen, but what I’m most proud of is the commitment to hard work shown by every single person on this show.
You’ve covered so many rookies and top young players like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa in college. Who are you most excited to see in the NFL?
One of my favorite things about building relationships in college football is watching those young men succeed on the NFL level. I was on the sideline for many of Lamar Jackson’s best and worst college moments and covered him in high school, too. Seeing him prove so many people wrong and have great success in the NFL as the reigning MVP makes me smile so big! I’m really looking forward to watching Tua’s NFL career. What probably got lost in the shuffle of countless draft questions and medical updates is that he sacrificed so much to rehab his body how he needed to. His competitive fire is second to none and I’m intrigued to see how it translates to the pros.