3 excellent YouTube channels to be interested in sports
Sport is the domain of sportsmen. This truism has been cemented into our culture by high school gym class, pop culture, and competition on the court. But there’s one hidden truth that sports people don’t talk about as much: it’s one of the cheesiest hobbies you can have.
Watch any sports game being broadcast and you will start seeing it. Obscure figures like a quarterback’s passer rating (a complex mathematical figure that’s supposed to tell you how “good” he is) or a more slugging hitter’s base (same deal, but for baseball ) take over the screen almost as much as the action of the game itself.
This obsession with “data” and history is somewhat inevitable. Once you’ve locked yourself into a favorite team or player, sports fandom tends to focus on numbers and memorizing lore — like the way Kansas City Chiefs fans shudder at the thought that once their kicker missed several easy goals in a close playoff game. And if you love math or storytelling and want to find a new nerdy thing (with the added bonus of being able to join in on Monday morning conversations), learning the sport is easier than ever thanks to the wonders of the internet. .
You don’t even have to turn on ESPN or go to a bookstore either, although both are also productive ways to learn about the sport. Instead, you can get almost anything you need from the internet video house: YouTube. And the best part is that it won’t cost you a single penny beyond what you’re already paying your ISP.
The best YouTube channels to learn sports
There are innumerable great YouTube channels to keep up to date with how the sport works and how it has changed over the years. Some cover individual sports or leagues like the NFL or NBA, while others cover everything under the sun. Here are three great channels to get you started and hopefully YouTube’s recommendation algorithm will get you to like them more instead of trying to radicalize you.
The first is NFL Throwback, a channel run by the NFL itself — not fans — which separates it from the rest of the channels we’ll talk about. It’s actually a good thing in this case.
These videos usually have no additional commentary beyond what was in the original game shows. The whole philosophy of NFL Throwback is “show, don’t tell”. You won’t get every individual player’s life story or anything, but you will be able to see some amazing plays as people saw them come to life as they happened.
I’ve wasted hours of my life watching clips of things like the time Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes (it’s a plot) in the first half of a match. If you really have nothing to do, you can even watch entire games, like that 2001 playoff game between the Patriots and the Raiders that ended in a bad call from the referees to help Tom Brady win his first championship. .
The thing is, so many great football moments, like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes’ game-winner in Super Bowl XLIII, tend to air ad nauseam on networks like ESPN without the context of it. a comprehensive game full of exciting twists. NFL Throwback offers the rawest, most low-key way to see it all on YouTube.
However, you can’t spend all your time worrying about things that happened 30 years ago. That’s how you end up like the old man in the sports bar who keeps complaining about how nobody in today’s NBA could play against 1980s superstars like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. BBallBreakdown is a great basketball channel to keep up to date with what’s going on right now.
Simply put, BBallBreakdown is a channel that breaks down basketball in a way that makes it easier to understand what’s happening on the court. Watching an NBA team execute their offense can be dizzying because teams like the Golden State Warriors have guys running around in a way that looks random and absurd, but is actually deeply methodical and punitive on defense.
Newcomers may find BBallBreakdown a little tricky at first because of terms like “ball screen” and “pick & roll,” but convenient on-screen graphics (and the ability to pause, rewind, and slow down the footage yourself) make it easy to catch what’s going on. The video above, for example, will give you a good idea of just how much of a threat Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry was during the 2022 playoffs, beyond his ability to just shoot the ball from long range. The way he pushes his way through a defense when one of his teammates has the ball (and the opponent’s attention) to set up shots that don’t have to be as open as they are is out of this world. This is fascinating stuff once you get a breakdown of how and why Steph does all these things.
The third and final channel on this list is my favorite of them all. Secret Base has a dedicated staff that puts out great videos at least once a week of historic happenings in virtually every sport, so no fan should feel left out here. There are a bunch of great series on this channel that cover sports from a whole host of fun angles.
For example, “Rewinder” takes singular famous pieces like Michael Jordan’s last shot as a member of the Chicago Bulls and goes into excruciating detail about what was happening both on and off the court before that moment. These are usually around 10 minutes long, so they’re super digestible and can teach you everything from World Series winning home runs at tennis matches that lasted three whole days.
Another personal favorite is “Collapse,” a series that studies teams that should have won more championships than they did. teams like the Late 2000s Phoenix Suns are put under a microscope, detailing all the drama on and off the pitch that took them from yearly contenders to bottom dwellers.
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And finally, the creme de la creme of all YouTube sports: the long-form documentaries from the directors, writers, producers and all sports historians, Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein. These cover all sorts of topics in all sorts of formats. There is an epic, saga in seven episodes covering the history of the NFL’s redhead stepson, the Atlanta Falcons. One of my favorites is a in two parts documenting the age-old triumphs, trials and tribulations of every professional athlete who has ever called himself “Bob”.
These are meticulously researched and presented with video clips, tons of charts and graphs that use numbers to brilliantly tell human stories (I’m serious, this is awesome)…and even some really old clippings of newspapers. These videos are also very cold in tone, as they are often tuned to what could generously be described as “dentist waiting room music”. I sincerely believe these are better than almost anything nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars.
Now, seriously, go watch the one about the guys named Bob. I promise it’s the most interesting thing you’ll see all day.