I thought I loved driving, until I was forced to take on a two-hour commute to school. There are few things as frustrating as attempting to make my way through Hartford during rush hour, so I found myself searching for ways to occupy my attention to avoid taking my frustration out on other drivers. After listening to what seemed like every hip-hop album ever released, I finally decided to try listening to podcasts to distract myself.
I found that podcasts made the time during my commute fly by. Being a sports nerd, I have found a long list of podcasts that I rotate through. There are five that stand above the rest as my favorites, however, and each is important for very different reasons. Without further ado, here are five sports podcasts that will make your commute less painful.
Since 2007, Bill Simmons has been at the top of the sports podcasting world.
After leaving ESPN, Simmons founded The Ringer, a variety website that focuses mainly on sports. The Ringer boasts over fifteen podcasts, and Simmons’ own podcast is the most popular of the bunch. With an incredible catalog of guests, including a recent episode with fellow podcast giant and stand-up comedian Marc Maron, “The Bill Simmons Podcast” is not limited to the subject of sports.
However, the majority of the show’s episodes focus on sports, and the bulk of each episode is made up of debate and conversation about different sports topics. For the most part, Simmons acts as a mediator for the conversation, allowing The Ringer’s writers to carry the majority of the conversation. He interjects to give his opinion, but is very careful to not take over the debate.
The biggest strength of “The Bill Simmons Podcast” is the variety of show formats that they regularly undertake. From shows centered on betting, to predictions, to ranking who is the best within a certain category, even the biggest sports fan can learn from listening to the podcast.
For fans of documentaries, “30 for 30 Podcasts” take ESPN films and turn them into an interview-based extension of the original story.
Usually running for less than an hour, the shorter length of “30 for 30 Podcasts” are perfect for a shorter commute. Usually, the podcast consists of the director of the documentary giving background information about aspects of the film that might not have made the final edit.
I personally recommend that every sports fan watches the Mike and Mad Dog documentary, then listens to the follow-up podcast that gives more background about the making of the film.
This podcast is like the bible for basketball nerds like myself.
Zach Lowe, the host of “The Lowe Post,” is arguably the best basketball writer on earth, and his podcast mirrors the quality of his writing. Focusing entirely on the NBA, Lowe offers his expert analysis on topics ranging from the games themselves to the business that takes place behind the scenes.
Sometimes it becomes easy for sports writers to fall in line with the opinions of their peers, as it is much more difficult to form a different opinion when the overwhelming majority of people are going another direction. Lowe has a knack for not only forming his own opinions, but influencing how other writers view the NBA, and many of these thoughts are showcased on “The Lowe Post.”
If you are a bit older, “The Tony Kornheiser Show” may be the best sports podcast for you. The show is hosted by, obviously, Tony Kornheiser, one of the most respected sports journalists in the United States. He hosts of one of the longest running sports shows on television, ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.”
Kornheiser is one of the more endearing, genuine figures in sports media. Since he is so knowledgeable about sports and a scope of other topics, he comes across as condescending at times. However, those that frequently listen to him can understand that he has just been doing this for so long that it comes as second nature to him.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of Kornheiser’s show is that he is honest to a fault, and he is not afraid to take a controversial stance.
Similarly to “The Lowe Post,” which focuses entirely on the NBA, “The Ringer NFL Show” is completely dedicated to the NFL, which allows The Ringer’s writers to give teams and topics the spotlight that would not normally receive national attention.
This could be positive or negative depending on how competitive your favorite team is. The strength of podcasts that focuses on one sport is that the listener knows exactly they are getting when they press play, whereas a show like “The Bill Simmons Podcast” has the potential to not even mention sports. For a miserable Monday morning commute, there are few podcasts that recap the Sunday NFL games as well as “The Ringer NFL Show.”