Venus vs. Serena, Shaq vs. Kobe, Tiger vs. Himself: ‘Sports Wars’ delivers dramatic retellings of sports’ greatest rivalries

Sports March 15, 2022
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Listen to ‘Sports Wars’

“Sports Wars” delivers dramatic retellings of the greatest sports rivalries straight to our ears. Host Dan Rubenstein hosts this serialized podcast about the greatest athletes of all time and their greatest nemeses. While fans and athletes add fuel to the rivalry fire, this podcast looks at the real story behind sports’ greatest matchups.

Wondery’s “Sports Wars” has been going strong since 2019, having released nearly 90 episodes. Those 90 episodes are all a part of 4- to 7-episode series covering matchups like Kobe vs. Shaq, Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady, and the Georgia Bulldogs vs. the Florida Gators. Episodes are just half an hour long, narrated by Rubenstein.

Most rivalries take up an entire series, like “Sports Wars” first rivalry between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for the quarterback position on the Green Bay Packers. Over the course of seven episodes, Rubenstein brings us through the epic ascent of Wisconsin football fans’ beloved Brett Favre. Simultaneously, we hear about Rodgers’ journey as he witnesses Favre revitalize a franchise that hadn’t seen success in decades. And when their stories finally collide, we hear about the birth of one of the greatest inter-team sports rivalries of all time.

Most of the stories this Wondery podcast puts out are multi-part series on competitors like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, or Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. They’ve done (partially subscription-exclusive) series like “Sports vs. the Spanish Flu,” where Rubenstein tells us how a stunningly deadly new virus lead to the rise of the legendary Babe Ruth. “Sports Wars” released a fascinating episode titled “Baseball After 9/11” that looks at how New York Mets pitcher John Franco and catcher Mike Piazza reacted to tragedy in their hometown.

While the final season of “Sports Wars” is a Wondery exclusive covering the bitter rivalry between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of its final series is perhaps its most interesting story. By this point, “Sports Wars” was going beyond the normal competition they had once covered. Sometimes the greatest rivalries aren’t between athletes or franchises; sometimes their greatest rivals are themselves, the world, and even family. The final few seasons of “Sports Wars” that don’t require a subscription look at athletes like Tiger Woods and his atypical rivals that aren’t other golfers. They cover the complicated sibling rivalry between Venus and Serena Williams, as well as their rivalry versus the tennis establishment.

From the people who brought us “Business Wars”, “Gladiator” and “The Lead,” “Sports Wars” is peak story-telling. Entertaining, engaging, and deeply detailed, this podcast is giving you all the sides of sports’ greatest duels.

Listen to ‘Sports Wars’
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