Welcome to Should I Listen To This?, where we deep-dive into a podcast to find out what it’s about, what works, what doesn’t, and whether or not you need to make the all-important decision to hit subscribe and add it to your rotation.
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Podcast: Make Me Smarter Football Podcast
Network: FOX Sports
What Is It?: In less than half an hour, some of the week’s biggest NFL headlines are debunked by Mike Lombardi.
Who’s The Host?: Nick Wright plays a host/moderator role on Michael Lombardi’s podcast. Lombardi, who has worked for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, and plenty of other teams, discusses NFL issues from an insider’s perspective. Wright will sometimes push back against his co-host, but he usually just explains what Lombardi said in easier terms.
What’s a Normal Episode Like?: Wright sets up Lombardi with different sound bytes from other NFL media members. Then, Lombardi breaks down just how mistaken said media members are. In the process, he uses unusual metaphors and analogies. If you thought Chris Berman’s references were dated, some of Lombardi’s are even older! He’s lucky Wright is there to modernize some of these concepts.
Who Is It For?: Football fans who are tired of the regurgitation from typical NFL studio shows will enjoy this one. It doesn’t give immediate analysis or heavy statistical analysis. Instead, Lombardi looks at the game from one of two perspectives: either by taking a step back and using his common sense or by taking a step forward and giving the rationale from inside the huddle/locker room/front office.
Who Is It Not For?: You really have to like football, and Lombardi, to like this podcast. He’s an acquired taste and is more prevalent here than during his Friday appearances on the Bill Simmons Podcast.
How Many Episodes Are There?: The episodes release on Tuesdays. It started on Nov. 1, which makes this the third week of the show.
Can I Jump Right In?: On a weekly basis, it’s easy to jump right in. But I’d recommend listening to the show before that weekend’s NFL games. Since some of the topics are more general, the episodes also have a longer shelf life than most sports podcasts.
What’s Not Great?: Lombardi’s “holier than thou” know-it-all attitude gets old fast. I’m not sure he can comprehend the idea of being wrong. Sign him up for a debate show because he fits that argumentative persona.
I’m also curious to see if Lombardi will ever own up to when he makes a mistake or is incorrect. He seems pretty pompous in this regard.
Related to Lombardi’s attitude is his explanation. He says that, as someone who was in the league, he watches a different game than fans and media watch. But he never explains what we can do to look smarter when we watch or what we should be watching for. This is giving listeners a fish as opposed to teaching them how to fish.
Also, Lombardi repeats chunks of what he says here when he chats with Bill Simmons on Fridays. It’s even some of the exact same analogies! Why do I need to subscribe to this show if I can already hear most of the important parts on another podcast?
So, Should I Listen To This?: As much as I don’t care for Lombardi’s abrasiveness, I’m going to stay subscribed to this show. I find myself chuckling at just how unusual some of his references are. Between the funny moments and the fact that it’s not even 30 minutes per week, it’s worth a listen.
I don’t love the show, and I’m not sure it’s made me smarter, but I like it. If you’re a fan of Lombardi’s appearances on the BS Podcast, you’ll enjoy him here. But he’s definitely an acquired taste based on how he presents his opinions.
Bottom Line – TL;DR: How you feel about Mike Lombardi as a football analyst will tell you whether or not you’re going to like this show.