ESPN analyst personally apologizes to Blake Bortles


[jwplayer r6BOZ9Um-01Ju7kF1]

Sunday’s AFC championship game will feature arguably the greatest quarterback of all time against what one former Super Bowl champion once described as “the worst quarterback in the NFL.”

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles has faced his fair share of criticism in his four years in the NFL, in part because the Jaguars won only 11 games combined in his first three years in the league.

Prior to the 2016 season finale, as the Jags were floundering with a nine-game losing streak, Dilfer — at the time an ESPN football analyst — was extremely critical of Bortles, calling him the worst quarterback in the league.

“He’s just not a great passer,” Dilfer said in an interview with Boston’s WEEI-FM. “I think he’s a great athlete, I think he’s a tough kid, but I think he makes panic decisions and is a terrible passer.

'I Don't Know if I'm Supposed to Say This': Trump Reveals Phone Call Where He Made Unexpected Request of Hannity

“I like Blake as a person and I think he showed some grit [and] some determination early on. At the end of the day, you have to know how to spin it. … You have to be able to control the ball, you have to be able to look in a very small area ahead of where the receiver is and throw it right there the majority of the time. And Blake has a really hard time with that.”

Bortles revealed this week that Dilfer approached him during the summer at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe and apologized for his remarks.

“I could care less. Everybody has their own opinion,” Bortles said of his critics. “They’re entitled to voice it if they want to. It’s not going to bother me. I think for [Dilfer] to, I couldn’t even tell you what he said, make a point to care and apologize, I thought that was pretty cool. It didn’t change my view point of him one way or another. He’s got a job to do and things to report on and all that. I don’t take any of that stuff personally. I appreciate the gesture definitely.”

Would you want Blake Bortles as your team's starting quarterback?

Dilfer said he used his apology to offer some advice when it came to critics.

“I said, ‘Hey, if I were to give you any advice it would be … don’t listen to us. Don’t watch. Don’t listen. Don’t read. It’s not going to be any good,'” he told

Even Dilfer has to see the irony of the player some have described as the worst quarterback to win a Super Bowl describing someone else as the worst quarterback in football.

Dilfer, who had a 58-55 regular-season record as a starter, won a Super Bowl with Baltimore following the 2000 season, thanks largely to a dominant Ravens defense that allowed only 23 points in the team’s four postseason games.

In Super Bowl XXXV, Dilfer completed just 12 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown.

Steelers QB Has SUV Stolen During Interview, Then Realizes Important Item He Left Inside It

“Trust me, if I were building a franchise, I would want Aaron Rodgers, not Trent Dilfer,” Dilfer said. “I wouldn’t want to try to win the way we won in Baltimore. It decreases your odds. But it happens every once in a while.”

At the time Dilfer criticized Bortles, the Jaguars quarterback had just completed his third season as a starter. In his first three seasons as a starter, Bortles had 68 touchdowns and 51 interceptions. In Dilfer’s first three years as a starter (1995-1997) he threw 39 touchdown passes and 45 interceptions.

Bortles hasn’t had an MVP-caliber season, but he played well enough to lead the Jaguars to Sunday’s AFC championship game.

“It’s been kind of remarkable what he’s been able to persevere through,” Dilfer said.  “He’s got a really good team, a really good coaching staff, a defense that can be top-notch, and an offense that is underrated at times.”

Dilfer was among the 100 employees let go by ESPN in April as part of the network’s cost-cutting strategy.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, ,
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Media, Sports, Business Trends