“You’ve got to trust us on this; we need 10 minutes.”
This was ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky’s plea to NFL Live producer Mark Eiseman that became the impetus for a viral segment that aired on the show Tuesday.
The discussion was lauded for its free-flowing, multi-perspective commentary on the trend of NFL teams slowly shifting their offenses back to having their quarterbacks under center rather than in popularized shotgun formation.
“One thing that Dan, in particular, has prided himself on is discovering trends in the NFL through film,” explained Eiseman, who says Orlovsky first mentioned the offensive shift observation during the 2021 season.
“We always lean in on is intelligent conversation,” explained Orlovsky. “In this case, we wanted to show the audience why teams utilize specific formations and the impact it has on the defense and success of the offense.”
Orlovsky and Eiseman knew they had to not simply just tell the audience it was happening, but demonstrate to the audience why the trend was occurring.
I told Mark, you’ve got to trust us on this; we need 10 minutes. And 10 minutes in television is just unheard of. But one of the beauties about Mark is, he has a tremendous amount of confidence in us, and he didn’t hesitate.
– ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky on his plea to NFL Live producer Mark Eiseman for a long segment
Through the discussion, they felt the smartest way to run the segment was with the entire NFL Livecrew involved. Marcus Spears and Ryan Clark would provide the defensive perspective and Mina Kimes the concrete examples of this trend shifting in the NFL. Host Laura Rutledge would navigate the conversation among the four analysts.
Said Orlovsky, “I told Mark, you’ve got to trust us on this; we need 10 minutes. And 10 minutes in television is just unheard of. But one of the beauties about Mark is, he has a tremendous amount of confidence in us, and he didn’t hesitate.”
Tuesday, Orlovsky and Eiseman’s vision came to life.
In the production meeting three hours before the show, Orlovsky relayed about 90 seconds of his thoughts on the segment to his teammates, leaving 98 percent of the segment unplanned. The panelists and production team would rely on the group’s chemistry to allow the conversation to flow smoothly.
The segment, which took just under nine minutes, has been viewed nearly 2 million times on Twitter since Tuesday evening and caught the eye of Patrick Mahomes, Kevin Durant, fans, media, and others in and out of the sports sphere.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 5, 2022
This convo flowed so perfectly…I appreciate the gems from the whole gang. 🤌🏿 https://t.co/zuWe97CLD6
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 5, 2022
💪! Love this! https://t.co/xK8blQKnaw
— Andrew Whitworth (@AndrewWhitworth) October 5, 2022
— Thurman Thomas (@thurmanthomas) October 4, 2022
Said NFL Live coordinating producer Lydelle King: “We simply want to talk about the game and explain to our audience why what you see is happening and how to make sense of it. We want to earn the audience’s hour. It is a motto we live by.”
And the show is doing just that.
NFL Live earned its highest September viewership since 2016, averaging 428,000 viewers per edition last month. During the 2021 regular season, NFL Live registered the show’s best regular season (Sept.-Dec.) viewership in five seasons (2016 season).
Focusing on demos, compared to the 2020 regular season, the show was up at least 12% in all key areas, including Persons 25-34 (17%), Persons 18-49 (15%), Persons 25-54 (18%) and Females (20%).
“Smart football talk has been a resounding theme for our group,” said Orlovsky. “It is a focal point of ours along with just being ourselves. We take a lot of pride in being the football show that is really founded upon smart football.”
📈🏈NFL Live Continues to Grow its Audience
September Audiences Deliver Multiple Superlatives, Continues Momentum from 2021 season
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 3, 2022