How Trent Dilfer gets to those ESPN sets: Weekly 3,000-mile journeys

Former Fresno State and NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, right, speaks at Northside Christian Church in Sanger in March 2008. (JOHN WALKER/THE FRESNO BEE)

Trent Dilfer looks fresh, in command and as a natural on those ESPN sets in Bristol, Conn., Sundays and Mondays for six months during the NFL season.

But consider the weekly, cross-country traveling itinerary for the former Fresno State and 13-year NFL quarterback, who has blossomed into one of ESPN’s leading football analysts.

It’s 3,000 miles from his Bay Area home in Los Gatos to Bristol.

He takes a red-eye flight on Saturday night to New York and is then car-serviced to Bristol: “I get in six or seven hours of sleep in the plane and car; it’s enough.”

He’s on the ESPN set until 1 a.m. on Sunday night, and then gets up early Monday to fly to the home site of the Monday Night Football game. And, of course, that could be anywhere in the country.

He then typically flies private, along with ESPN partner Steve Young, back to the West Coast and is “always” home by noon Tuesday.

Remarkably, Dilfer says he missed only one volleyball match last season of his oldest daughter, Maddie, who’s a national-class player for Valley Christian of San Jose. The Warriors won the Central Coast Section Division III title. She’s a 5-11 junior who’s about to announce her choice of attending Notre Dame or Cal on scholarship. She’s been one of Valley Christian’s leading hitters for three seasons, but is being recruited as a setter.

Maddie Dilfer is playing in a national-level tournament this weekend in Las Vegas. Her father will attend, leave Saturday to speak at Jim Sweeney’s public memorial at Bulldog Stadium, and then return that night to Vegas.