The 9 Greatest Sports Podcasts
Face it: We are knee-deep in the digital age, and podcasts have fast become a viable way of getting your sports news regardless of geography or area of interest. The good news is anyone can do one. The bad news is anyone can do one. So here’s a brief guide to let you know a few of the best in general sports, some with a pop culture slant, and some painfully specific broadcasts.
9. B.S. Report
While one could argue (rightfully, in my opinion) that Bill Simmons is pretty far up his own ass these days, the fact remains that his podcasts remain pretty damn entertaining, thanks largely to the guests he is able to score, who are an equal mix of familiar regulars and interesting one-offs. Of course, you have to subscribe to Simmons’ program to really enjoy it (NFL, NBA, and Sox/Yankees baseball only), so if you’re looking for hockey, college football, or any offbeat sports, you best look elsewhere. However, his podcast also serves as a nice gateway for casual sports fans as his conversations are peppered with enough pop culture references to make them accessible to all but the most oblivious sports fans.
Though it’s just an audio version of the TV program, it still touches on enough different topics to keep you up-to-speed on the world of sports in 30 minutes or so. Also, they do a decent job of balancing news with opinion, so you’re privy to a little insight that you wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. Of course, this format is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition; if you don’t like the personalities involved, then this show will wear thin pretty quickly.
7. The Football Ramble
To be clear, this is “soccer football,” not “American football” for all the yanks out there. It’s a British podcast with an indie sensibility, so think of something along the lines of “Top Gear,” where you get taken for a random and entertaining ride by a few slackers, but end up with the same info as if you were listening to a more by-the-numbers broadcast. Think of a really good, insightful, funny student radio show and you’re on the right track.
6. Sklarbro Country
These two brothers, Jason and Randy Sklar have decided to ply their comedy craft solely in the arena of sports. They offer more humor than insight, and sometimes their humor can run a little corny, but their rapport with one another is among the best in the game. I guess that goes with being twins. It’s also very hard to tell which brother is talking, but that’s just part of the fun, isn’t it. They also manage to stay very current, so a couple recent episodes should bring you right up to speed.
5. The Puck Podcast
Few podcasts are as comprehensive and insightful as this one, which cranks out full-length shows during the slow summer months, leaving no stone unturned. The format loosely recaps the previous week of action, as well as offering a look ahead based on recent and long-term trends. These guys work with Fox Sports, but you wouldn’t know that they are beholden to anyone with the way they call what they see. Doug and Eddie have been cranking out this show since podcasts were in their infancy, offering up something that most other podcasts don’t: consistency.
4. Horse Racing Radio
Sure, 95% of us don’t give a damn about horseracing, but these podcasts (I don’t know enough about racing to single out a specific one) are pretty fascinating to even those not familiar with the sport. You know those weird guys that hang out at the OTB with cigars, reading racing forms at 9 AM? Well, now you can listen to what those guys actually talk about. And make no mistake, these guys are experts. I mean, they would have to be with so much money hinging on their words. Right? Right? Right?
3. Fantasy Focus Football
I realize that I’m a little heavy on the ESPN podcasts here, but they are the best for American sports. They have the resources to conduct frequent podcasts, and they can afford to get specific with each one. Further, they are able to capture some of the best talent, such as Matthew Berry in this fantasy football podcast. Granted, it’s only really applicable for about six months a year, but if you’re scouting fantasy football info in April, you have a problem. Seriously. You have a problem.
2. Spider and the Henchman
This podcast broadcasts out of Adam Carolla’s ACE podcast network, so that should give you an idea of the sensibilities of the show. However, like Adam himself, the show’s irreverence and goofiness is underscored with an intelligence and fresh perspective that isn’t replicated anywhere else. They have no real formula; almost all sports are touched on to some degree. It also serves as perhaps the largest “indie” podcast, not affiliated with any station or publication. Take a listen. It’s pretty far from traditional, but that’s not a bad thing.
1. March Madness
Put on by CBS Sports, the home of the NCAA tourney, this podcast serves as the ultimate Cliff’s Notes for a national obsession. You can spend the whole season following myriad teams or you can cram for a week and have the same arsenal of knowledge going into bracket season. Sure, it’s niche, but when it comes to brackets, it’s best to get the most info in the shortest amount of time, and this does it for all but the most insatiable NCAA hoops fans.