Alan Pergament: ESPN’s “NFL Live” at Orchard Park Monday; Fitzpatrick addresses criticism from former teammates | Television


ESPN’s “NFL Live” team is coming to Western New York for its 4 p.m. show Monday to set the stage for Monday night’s football game between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

Dan Orlovsky, the game analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Levy and analyst Louis Riddick, will be joined by his “NFL Live” teammates Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears and Mina Kimes on the outside from Highmark Stadium to Orchard Park for the one-time schedule. Rutledge will also serve as the secondary game reporter.

“We’re going to be (in Buffalo) watching the games on Sunday,” Orlovsky said in a phone interview. “I know that sounds corny and cliché and stupid and I’m sure the folks at Buffalo are sick of it, but we’re going to be ordering a bunch of wings and watching games on Sunday, which I’m looking forward to as well.”

I’ll have more from Orlovsky later this week.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick, the popular former Bills quarterback, was part of a video conference Monday for new Amazon Prime coverage of NFL games. He begins his Thursday night football schedule with the game between Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs and Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bills game with New England on December 1 is on the Prime Video program and will be simulcast on WKBW-TV (Channel 7).

I had a silly question and a serious question for Fitzpatrick, who is a studio analyst for Prime Video.

First the silly question.

He still has his signature beard, which made me wonder if Amazon asked him to shave it off to appear on TV.

“I think they’re okay with everything, but personally with my daughters and my wife, they don’t want to see me without facial hair,” Fitzpatrick said. “So it’s more about the happiness of life at home. I will keep the beard.

The serious question was whether Fitzpatrick might find it harder to criticize any of his teammates on the nine different NFL teams he played with.

“In terms of being critical, or being critical, with that and with just the trust issues of having conversations with guys, what can I say on air, what can I not say on antenna? I just had a great conversation with Dan Patrick the other day when I was doing his show and we were talking about Amazon Thursday Night Football and he said, basically, just tell the truth, be fair. And I thought that was good advice, I’ll try to be fair.

“I will also try to have an informed opinion. So if I haven’t watched the game, I’m not just going to look at the stats and say, my boy, Tua (Tagovailoa) played well or he didn’t play well.

“So he’s a really good friend of mine, but he’s a lightning rod in the media and there’s going to be a lot of questions about him. I have no problem being critical if it’s fair. And in along the same lines, I’m also going to be very complimentary when he does good things. So I thought that was great advice from Dan Patrick. I think that’s easier said than said do and it’s going to be a fight for me that I have to get better at as I go in. But, again, relying on (Amazon’s teammates) Charissa (Thompson) and Tony (Gonzalez) to get some advice on some of these things as we go along will also be useful to me.

Another critic asked Fitzpatrick how he spent last Sunday, his first Sunday game day since retiring.

“That first set of games, I really enjoyed that as a football fan,” Fitzpatrick said, “When we got to the fourth quarter of that first set of games, it was absolutely crazy just trying to figure out what game i wanted to play. look with the games going into extra time and the latest drives and field goals. i really like that. part of that for me, because it was the first time in 18 years that I could sit down on a Sunday and just enjoy the football, enjoy opening day, and not have the pressure or the stress of playing there It was fun to share with my family and just be able to sit and be lazy for a day.

Updated notes: NBC raised the local rating on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) for the Bills’ 31-10 win over Los Angeles to 45.2, from the original rating of 43.4. Buffalo was the nation’s highest-rated market for the game, which drew 21.7 million viewers nationwide.

A reminder: Channel 2 is simulcasting ESPN’s coverage of the Bills-Titans game, which plays the second half Monday night opposite the 8:30 p.m. game between Minnesota and Philadelphia airing on local ABC affiliate WKBW. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the announcers for this ABC game.


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