Sports Wars

Sports Wars
Sports rivalries can fuel fans and athletes to fight and argue for years. But what’s the real story behind these epic battles?From Wondery, the company behind “Business Wars”, “Gladiator” and “The Lead” comes SPORTS WARS, a new series that offers an immersive look at some of the greatest athletic rivalries of all time: two superpower nations facing off in the Miracle on Ice. The battle for the starting quarterback gig in Green Bay between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. And many more.Host Dan Rubenstein (Sports Illustrated, SB Nation) will take you from the grudge matches to the pranks, from the tantrums to the triumphs: what really happened, who was right, who was wrong — and you can decide whose side you’re on.

Brady vs. Manning - The Rivalry Comes to a Close | 6
Jan 24 • 33 min
Father Time knocks on the door for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But the two legendary QBs refuse to answer. Manning, now 39 years old, fights tooth and nail, as he competes for another Super Bowl ring. But he’s got a big obstacle in his way. It’s a…
Brady vs. Manning - The Mannings Strike Again | 5
Jan 22 • 31 min
Multiple neck surgeries. Grueling rehab. An emotional meeting that upends his career. For Peyton Manning, life hasn’t been easy. But he won’t stop fighting to win—especially as he faces his biggest rival, Tom Brady.
Brady vs. Manning - Peyton Breaks Through | 4
Jan 17 • 34 min
Peyton Manning faces the biggest moment in his career. It’s a chance to finally win a Super Bowl title. And soon, Tom Brady will have a shot at redemption. But, once again, he’ll find himself head to head with a formidable Manning. Only this time, the…
Brady vs. Manning - Hey, I’m Peyton | 3
Jan 15 • 31 min
Tom Brady becomes the NFL’s greatest winner. And he’s only in his mid-20s. As for Peyton Manning? He continues to lead the Colts to stellar regular seasons—only to struggle when the lights are the brightest.
Brady vs. Manning - Growing Pains | 2
Jan 10 • 34 min
Peyton Manning achieves a lifelong dream—he’s heading to the NFL. But when he gets there? It’s a rough start, to say the least. Times are tough in Ann Arbor, too. Because Tom Brady has a new rival named Drew Henson, who threatens to unseat Brady as…
Brady vs. Manning - Family First | 1
Jan 8 • 35 min
For years, football fans were divided. You were either a Tom Brady fan or a Peyton Manning fan. The two quarterbacks came to define the modern NFL, as they cemented their status as all-time greats. It was a rivalry between two players with remarkable…
Ethan Strauss: Behind the Scenes with the Warriors and Cavs | 5
Dec 20, 2019 • 30 min
Ethan Strauss is an expert on all things Golden State Warriors. Strauss, a reporter for The Athletic, has a new book that tracks the rise and fall of this basketball dynasty. He joins Dan and shares some insiders’ stories about the Warriors—and their…
LeBron vs. the Warriors — The Hamptons Five | 4
Dec 18, 2019 • 29 min
Another year, another Finals. And another matchup between LeBron and the Warriors. Only this time, Golden State has a little extra help on its side. Because they’ve signed a star named Kevin Durant. LeBron clashes with this new superteam, and as the…
LeBron vs. the Warriors — They Can’t Stop Us | 3
Dec 13, 2019 • 35 min
The Warriors blaze through the regular season, setting an NBA record with 73 wins. But that leaves them worn out. And vulnerable, as they head back to the Finals. Because LeBron James is hungry for his third championship ring. Support us by supporting our…
LeBron vs. the Warriors — The Best in the World | 2
Dec 11, 2019 • 30 min
The Warriors get a new coach. And a new, scorching-hot offense. But when they reach the NBA Finals, they’ll face their biggest test—and their fiercest rival. It’s the first Finals matchup between LeBron and the Warriors. Support us by supporting our…
LeBron vs. The Warriors — Chosen One vs. the World | 1
Dec 6, 2019 • 36 min
It was the king versus the upstarts. The superman versus the superteam. It was LeBron versus the Warriors. The rivalry, which spanned four straight NBA Finals, would reshape basketball for years to come. And it began with two kids from Akron, Ohio—one who…
Ray Ratto on the Record | 6
Nov 29, 2019 • 27 min
Ray Ratto is a legendary sportswriter who’s been covering San Francisco teams for more than thirty years. He chats with Dan about Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, and the rivalry that roiled the Bay. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Mint Mobile — Cut your…
Sanders vs. Rice — Final Showdown | 5
Nov 27, 2019 • 35 min
Jerry and Deion are competitors again, battling in their most contentious showdown yet. This rivalry is starting to come full circle. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Dollar Shave Club — Check out Dollar Shave Club’s holiday gift selection right now…
Sanders vs. Rice — Teammates | 4
Nov 22, 2019 • 36 min
Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice become unlikely teammates in San Francisco. They’re supposed to share the same goal: Super Bowl glory. But that doesn’t mean bygones will be bygones. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Roman — Go to…
Sanders vs. Rice — Sleepless Nights | 3
Nov 20, 2019 • 35 min
Jerry and Deion engage in a fierce battle while playing for NFC West rivals, yet despite their enormous individual success, their teams each have some spectacular flaws. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Warby Parker — Head to…
Introducing Good Life Project
Nov 15, 2019 • 6 min
Every week, we share inspirational, intimate and disarmingly-unfiltered conversations about living a fully-engaged, fiercely-connected and purpose-drenched life. From iconic world-shakers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Sir Ken Robinson, Seth Godin…
Sanders vs. Rice — World Versus Prime Time | 2
Nov 15, 2019 • 38 min
When Jerry Rice is drafted out of a small school, some question whether he’s really ready for the show. It’s nothing like the instant impact Deion Sanders will soon make with his show-stopping speed and showboating style. Support us by supporting our…
Sanders vs. Rice — Running Against the Dark | 1
Nov 13, 2019 • 34 min
For nearly twenty years, Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice wowed football fans with their dazzling speed and athleticism. And for nearly twenty years, neither man could stand the other. There were on-field battles, handshakes ignored, wars of words, and…
Lenn Robbins Has Seen It All | 7
Nov 8, 2019 • 34 min
Longtime columnist Lenn Robbins, who has covered New York baseball for years, talks with Dan about the Subway Series.
Mike Piazza: The Monster Is Out of the Cage | 6
Nov 6, 2019 • 32 min
Mike Piazza needs no introduction, but what the heck. The catcher is a 12-time All-Star. He has an ESPY Award. And he’s in the Hall of Fame. He joins Dan to talk about his career with the Mets, his rivalry with Roger Clemens, and what it was like to play…
Mets vs. Yankees — Believe | 5
Nov 1, 2019 • 31 min
In a make-or-break game five, the Mets pin their hopes on pitcher Al Leiter. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Dollar Shave Club — Get your Ultimate Starter Set for just $5 at
Mets vs. Yankees — Round Two | 4
Oct 30, 2019 • 26 min
A broken bat leads to a bench-clearing brawl. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Draft Kings — Download the DraftKings app now and use code SPORTSWARS at sign up to get a free shot at over $1 million in prizes with your first deposit!
Mets vs. Yankees — Fall Classic | 3
Oct 25, 2019 • 23 min
From sidewalks to train platforms, talk radio to television, cubicles to water coolers, everyone’s talking about the all-New York World Series. Support us by supporting our sponsors! SimpliSafe — Visit for free shipping and a…
Mets vs. Yankees — Collision Course | 2
Oct 23, 2019 • 24 min
When the Yankees and Mets meet in a doubleheader, Roger Clemens sends Mike Piazza a bruising message. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Warby Parker — Head to to order your free Home Try-On. Roman — Go to…
Mets vs. Yankees — Interleague Play | 1
Oct 18, 2019 • 26 min
The Mets and the Yankees may share a city, but they’ve never really been rivals. That all changes in the summer of 2000.
Sugar Ray Leonard: The Mind of a Fighter | 6
Oct 16, 2019 • 21 min
With three National Golden Gloves titles and an Olympic gold medal to his name, Sugar Ray Leonard is unquestionably one of boxing’s all-time greats. He joins Dan to talk about his career and share memories of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, George Forman,…
In the Ring With Teddy Atlas | 6
Oct 11, 2019 • 36 min
Teddy Atlas trained under Cus D’Amato. He was later a ringside commentator at some of the greatest fights in boxing history. Now Atlas joins Dan to talk about the Tyson–Holyfield match up and how he predicted the bite fight would end the way it did.…
Tyson vs. Holyfied — Bite Fight | 5
Oct 9, 2019 • 35 min
It’s June 1997. At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are suiting up for a highly anticipated rematch. It’s been billed as “The Sound and the Fury.” But soon the fight will have another name. Support us by supporting our…
Tyson vs. Holyfield — Finally | 4
Oct 4, 2019 • 30 min
At long last, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield come face to face. Support us by supporting our sponsors! ZipRecruiter — Try ZipRecruiter FOR FREE at
Tyson vs. Holyfield — Dream Matchup | 3
Oct 2, 2019 • 27 min
Tyson suffers a stunning defeat in the ring, and Holyfield takes on “old man” George Foreman. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Casper — Get $100 toward select mattresses by visiting and using code SPORTSWARS at checkout.
Tyson vs. Holyfield — Becoming Champions | 2
Sep 27, 2019 • 22 min
Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson grew up idolizing Muhammad Ali. Both aspired to become the champion of the world. But there’s only room for one at the top.
Tyson vs. Holyfield — Sweet Science Schooling | 1
Sep 25, 2019 • 26 min
Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. It’s one of the greatest rivalries in boxing history, and it began with sterling mentors, Olympic dreams, and bad luck. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Dollar Shave Club — Get your Ultimate Starter Set for just $5…
Going, Going, Gone: Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville | 7
Sep 20, 2019 • 29 min
Jayson Stark followed Mark McGwire during the ’98 season. At the time, he thought it was the greatest story he’d ever covered. Now Stark, who writes about baseball for The Athletic, tells Dan he isn’t so sure. And former major leaguer Doug Glanville talks…
Tony La Russa on the Home Run Chase | 6
Sep 18, 2019 • 37 min
Tony La Russa has won three World Series titles, been named manager of the year four times, and he coached the Cardinals during the 1998 home run race. He talks with Dan about that race and what it was like managing Mark McGwire.
Introducing The Lead: Your New Daily Sports Fix
Sep 16, 2019 • 8 min
From Wondery and The Athletic, The Lead is the first daily sports podcast that will bring you one big story each day from The Athletic’s all-star team of local and national sports reporters. Subscribe now to hear new episodes each weekday morning:…
McGwire vs Sosa - Broken Records | 5
Sep 13, 2019 • 35 min
When the AP drops a bombshell story, Mark McGwire worries his season, his record chase, and his career may be over. And it’s not just his livelihood that’s at stake. Pretty soon, Sammy Sosa is facing tough questions of his own.
McGwire vs. Sosa — Showdown at Wrigley Corral | 4
Sep 11, 2019 • 33 min
Wrigley Field — August 19th, 1998. The Cubs are facing the Cardinals, which means Sammy Sosa is about to duke it out, at bat after at bat, with Mark McGwire. It’s a metaphor for the whole season, really, each man a moonshot away from besting the other.…
McGwire vs Sosa — The Race Begins | 3
Sep 6, 2019 • 32 min
It’s 1998, the race to 61 homers is on, and Mark McGwire is a force to be reckoned with. Then comes the All-Star break. Suddenly his bat slows down and Sammy’s speeds up. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Casper — Get $100 toward select mattresses by…
McGwire vs. Sosa — Generating Power | 2
Sep 4, 2019 • 32 min
Mark McGwire doesn’t leave college with a diploma: he leaves with a beautiful swing and a ticket to the show. Pretty soon, though, his personal life is in tatters and so is his game. Can bulking up he get him back on track? Meanwhile, Sammy Sosa explodes…
McGwire vs. Sosa — Saving Baseball | 1
Aug 30, 2019 • 31 min
Blasts. Jacks. Moonshots. Grand salamis. Nothing’s quite so mythical as baseball’s home run. In 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa reminded the nation of that as they tried to smash into the record books. They thought they were going to save baseball.…
The Solid Verbal’s 2019 Guide to College Football Rivalries | 1
Aug 28, 2019 • 29 min
Do you love bonus content? Thought so. Here’s a special episode of Dan’s other Wondery podcast, The Solid Verbal. It’s is a thrice-weekly show about college football that features previews, recaps, and analysis. In this edition, Dan and his co-host Ty…
Andy Staples and Emmanuel Acho: Clashing Colleges | 4
Aug 23, 2019 • 42 min
Andy Staples was once the worst walk-on offensive lineman in Florida history; now he’s an excellent writer who covers college football for The Athletic. In this episode of Sports Wars, Staples talks about some key moments in the Florida–Georgia rivalry.…
Texas vs Oklahoma - Young and Feisty | 3
Aug 21, 2019 • 30 min
Adrian Peterson and Baker Mayfield are two Texas-born football phenoms. But when they enroll at the University of Oklahoma, it touches off a recruiting war that will define the modern era of the Texas vs. Oklahoma rivalry.
Texas vs Oklahoma - The Outlaw | 2
Aug 16, 2019 • 30 min
A new era has dawned in the rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma—an era of such bitter hatred that even the President of the United States can’t escape it. A lot of it has to do with Barry Switzer, the Sooners’ head coach, whose maverick tendencies provoke…
Texas vs Oklahoma - The Red River Shootout | 1
Aug 14, 2019 • 24 min
What makes the rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma so doggone contentious? Maybe it’s that these states hate each other so much they almost went to war over a bridge. Maybe it’s the underhanded stunts coaches like Mike Leach have pulled to win. Or maybe…
Georgia vs Florida - Tebow Time | 3
Aug 9, 2019 • 31 min
Urban Meyer passes up his dream job and instead takes the head coach gig at Florida. Among his early recruits is Tim Tebow. They’re one heck of a pair. But will it be enough to stop Mark Richt’s Georgia team? This is the third and final episode of Georgia…
Georgia vs Florida - Head Ball Coach | 2
Aug 7, 2019 • 25 min
It’s 1989 and Steve Spurrier, Florida’s head coach, is desperate to settle the grudge he’s been holding against Georgia for two decades. Back then he was Florida’s QB, and Georgia spoiled his perfect season. Now he’s out for blood—Bulldog blood.
Georgia vs Florida - The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party | 1
Aug 2, 2019 • 22 min
For the next six episodes, we’re focusing on two of the greatest rivalries in college football: Georgia vs. Florida and Texas vs. Oklahoma. We begin with Georgia vs. Florida, a long-simmering, start-studded, completely unruly matchup. These schools have…
Howard Beck Remembers His Time With Kobe and Shaq | 7
Jul 26, 2019 • 39 min
As a reporter for the LA Daily News, Howard Beck covered the Kobe–Shaq saga as it happened. In this episode of Sports Wars, he offers his take on the rivalry, explains how the pair changed basketball, and recounts the time Shaq called to say his Laker…
Kobe vs Shaq - The Storm Before the Calm | 6
Jul 24, 2019 • 31 min
It’s all over. Or is it? Kobe and Shaq no longer play for the same team, and their relationship seems like it’s slowly evolving from rivalry to brotherhood. Still, Shaq can’t resist making digs at Kobe’s expense, and Kobe won’t stop until he’s got more…
Kobe vs Shaq - It All Comes Apart | 5
Jul 19, 2019 • 27 min
As the Lakers head into the 2003–2004 season, the team’s two stars face their most significant challenges yet. On the court, Shaq’s dominance has started to fade. And off the court, serious allegations have marred Kobe’s once squeaky-clean image. With…
Kobe vs Shaq - Stay Hungry or Lose | 4
Jul 17, 2019 • 28 min
They may be reigning champs, but things aren’t looking great for the Lakers as the 2000–2001 season gets underway. After a dispiriting loss, Kobe acknowledges he’s a ball hog. Shaq can’t make a free throw to save his life. And their ongoing feud spills…
Kobe vs Shaq - Who’s the Boss | 3
Jul 12, 2019 • 32 min
It’s 1999 and Phil Jackson—the tai chi–practicing, sage-burning zen master—is now the Lakers’ head coach. He’s got his eye on a championship, but he knows the only way to get there is to teach Shaq some discipline and snap Kobe’s selfish streak. Easier…
Kobe vs Shaq - Powered by Fury | 2
Jul 10, 2019 • 29 min
Kobe and Shaq are young, famous, handsomely paid, and diametrically opposed. Shaq, with his lifelong craving for adoration, tries to win over his teammates and position himself as the Lakers’ top dog. As for Kobe, he couldn’t care less about camaraderie.…
Kobe vs Shaq - It’s Showtime | 1
Jul 5, 2019 • 29 min
It’s 1996, and the Los Angeles Lakers are priming for greatness. First they sign the gargantuan, indomitable Shaquille O’Neal. Then they bring on a 17-year-old with epic potential: Kobe Bryant. What a coup, right? There’s only one problem. Shaq and Kobe…
David Aldridge Charts the Evolution of NBA Rivalries | 6
Jun 26, 2019 • 27 min
For three decades, David Aldridge has covered the NBA for outlets like The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Athletic. On this episode of Sports Wars, he digs into the league’s long history of mighty matchups and argues it’s often the…
Sam Smith Breaks Down “The Jordan Rules” | 5
Jun 21, 2019 • 35 min
Veteran reporter Sam Smith followed the Chicago Bulls for their 1990–91 season and turned that experience into a bestselling book, “The Jordan Rules.” It’s a searing, unmatched portrait of Michael Jordan’s path to glory. On this episode of Sports Wars,…
Jordan vs Isiah - Greatness | 4
Jun 19, 2019 • 28 min
1991. At long last, Michael Jordan beats Isiah Thomas, ends the Bad Boys era, and ushers in a Bulls dynasty. Jordan has the edge over his longtime rival, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten the Freeze Out or the “Jordan Rules.” He’s still out for…
Jordan vs Isiah - The Triangle | 3
Jun 14, 2019 • 24 min
Michael Jordan is unstoppable—except when it comes to Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. When the Bad Boys cruise to back-to-back championships in ’89 and ’90, Jordan’s frustration reaches an all-time high. He’s willing to take whatever help he can…
Jordan vs Isiah - The Bad Boys | 2
Jun 12, 2019 • 31 min
By 1987, Michael Jordan has established himself as the NBA’s most exciting player—not to mention the league’s top scorer. But it’s Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons who dominate the Eastern Conference, and their tough play earns them a new nickname,…
Jordan vs Isiah - The Freeze Out | 1
Jun 7, 2019 • 27 min
It’s 1985. Michael Jordan is a flashy Chicago Bulls rookie, and Isiah Thomas is an established star for the Detroit Pistons. When they’re thrust together at the NBA All-Star Game, it’s not exactly love at first sight. Jordan feels slighted by Isiah, and…
One on One: Why Tennis Rivalries Are So Uniquely Compelling | 7
May 31, 2019 • 20 min
“Strokes of Genius” author Jon Wertheim discusses what makes tennis rivalries different than any other sport, why Federer v Nadal was so compelling, and other great match ups in tennis history.
Federer vs Nadal - Suffering and Perfection | 6
May 29, 2019 • 27 min
After four straight head-to-head wins, the era-defining rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is trending strongly toward Nadal. But Federer is already looking to reverse his fortunes at the next major — the 2009 Australian Open — a hard court…
Strokes of Genius: Jon Wertheim | 5
May 24, 2019 • 29 min
Jon Wertheim — best-selling author of Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played — joins Sports Wars to discuss tennis’ greatest modern rivalry between two of the best the game has ever seen and what it’s been like to have a…
Federer vs Nadal - The Greatest Match Ever Played | 4
May 22, 2019 • 28 min
Roger Federer enters the 2008 Wimbledon Grand Slam as a five-time defending champion. The tabloids mark him as finished — mostly because of his poor performance in the year’s first two grand slams. Rafael Nadal is coming off a dominant French Open title…
Federer vs Nadal - Grass and Clay | 3
May 17, 2019 • 23 min
Rafael Nadal continues to add French Open titles, but winning on the grass courts of Wimbledon proves elusive because of one person: Roger Federer. The Swiss Champion holds as much dominance on grass as Nadal has on clay. So when the 2007 Wimbledon Final…
Federer vs Nadal - The Raging Bull | 2
May 15, 2019 • 27 min
At age 19 Nadal dominates on clay and shoots up the world rankings. Now he’s looking to prove his win in Miami over Federer was no fluke. Meanwhile, Federer tries to capture the career grand slam, but to get it, he’ll need to beat Nadal on his best…
Federer vs Nadal - The Hothead | 1
May 10, 2019 • 28 min
In this series we explore the unique tennis rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal— two very different players, both exceptional, in pursuit of perfection. Swiss-born Roger Federer was seemingly born with a racquet in his hand and at a young age…
Jeff Pearlman: Author of “Gunslinger” | 7
May 3, 2019 • 34 min
Jeff Pearlman— the best selling author of Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre— joins Sports Wars to discuss the rivalry between Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. They began as competitors on the same team, but ended up…
Favre vs Rodgers - One Last Chance | 6
May 1, 2019 • 34 min
As the new quarterback of the rival Minnesota Vikings, Brett Favre wants revenge against the Packers. He won’t retire until he gets his chance to beat Rodgers and Green Bay in 2009. Meanwhile, Rodgers tries to show the Packers he’s ready to be the new…
Favre vs. Rodgers - Hero To Villain | 5
Apr 26, 2019 • 31 min
Brett Favre comes out of retirement again, but this time Green Bay is moving on to the Aaron Rodgers era. The Packers trade Favre to the Jets, turning their legendary QB into a new rival.
Favre vs. Rodgers - Packer For Life? | 4
Apr 24, 2019 • 36 min
Aaron Rodgers starts his career as the backup QB in Green Bay as Brett Favre ponders retirement. When Favre leads the Packers to their best season in years, the legendary quarterback decides he may not be ready to turn the team over to Rodgers after all.
Favre vs. Rodgers - On a Crash Course | 3
Apr 19, 2019 • 32 min
Brett Favre takes Titletown to the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years. Aaron Rodgers tries to prove he’s good enough to play college football and be chosen by his favorite team - the 49ers.
Favre vs. Rodgers - The Savior from Mississippi | 2
Apr 17, 2019 • 28 min
In 1991, the Atlanta Falcons tire of the antics of their rookie quarterback, Brett Favre. They decide to trade him to Green Bay where he soon takes over as the starting quarterback. He begins a streak of consecutive starts that will turn him into a…
Favre vs. Rodgers - Good Morning, Grandpa | 1
Apr 17, 2019 • 27 min
It’s 2005 and The Green Bay Packers are on the clock in this year’s NFL Draft. The last thing most Packers fans think the team needs in the draft is a new quarterback. Their team already has Hall of Famer, Brett Favre, who is in the middle of his…
Introducing Sports Wars
Apr 5, 2019 • 1 min
Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers. Michael Jordan vs. Isiah Thomas. And many more… Sports Wars premieres on April 17th. Subscribe now!