Welcome to the second installment of “5 Podcasts in 5 Days“. We began this series by placing the “Bill Simmons Podcast” under the microscope. Now for our second act, we shift our focus to the “Men In Blazers”.
As I analyze these programs, I’m seeking to gain a deeper understanding of what makes them unique, how they sound compared to sports radio shows, how differently the sponsors are involved in each broadcast, and what type of content experience is provided to the audience. I’m also curious to see how similar or different they are from each other.
If you’re a fan/critic of these shows, or get paid to work on one of them, take the analysis with a grain of salt. This is just the opinion of one person – Jason Barrett. My goal in offering these insights and opinions is to give an honest, and objective view of what listeners can expect to hear when they download and listen to each show. Other podcasts that have been created by the show may be different from the one I’m analyzing, but this is a reflection of their most recent work, so what may or may not exist on other episodes is irrelevant.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s dive into the second review. You’ll also find an audio version of the episode to listen to and follow along with if you wish.
- TITLE: The Men In Blazers Podcast
- DATE: June 8, 2016
- LENGTH: 1 Hour 1 Minute
- CAST: Hosts = Michael Davis and Roger Bennett
- SPONSORS: Seat Geek, Guinness, and Amazon. Plugs for ViceSports.com, Disney Store, and The Raven.
- PRODUCTION: Good theatrical music to open the show, a couple of sound effects, but very simple and dry.
:00-:20 = Production music runs to kick off the show, followed by a verbal intro announcing the start of the show
:20-10:00 = Rog and Davo mention that they’re recording the podcast after the U..S.A. defeated Costa Rica 4-0 in the COPA America tournament. During the first ten minutes the conversation shifts into multiple directions including, being hungover, italians nibbling on dry bull penis to get over hangovers, Rog’s pessimistic outlook heading into big games, why the COPA America tournament isn’t great, the reasons why these games shouldn’t take place in NFL stadiums, being subjected to terrible white reggae artists, and crashing the upper 90 website.
10:00-10:50 = Reset of the show, and a preview of what else will be covered throughout the remainder of the program. The guys utilize two sound effects of a beer can being opened, and then poured into a glass, and they naturally weave in which Guinness beverages they’re drinking as they record the show.
10:50-42:35 = Discussion turns to a Wall Street Journal article where U.S.A. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann offers a number of quotes that don’t sit well with Rog and Davo. The guys are confused why Klinsmann would make comments prior to an important game. They then transition to covering the USA’s 2-0 loss to Colombia, and why American soccer fans don’t care as much about winning it all as they do seeing progress being made. Next, they focus on the way Jurgen uses his roster, and sticks with his veterans, sometimes to the detriment of a game. This allows them to segway to discussing USA’s win over Costa Rica, and the emotional roller coaster moments the game provided. Davo raises the question “who is going to emerge as the next major American star to follow in the footsteps of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley?” After offering suggestions, a look ahead to the US vs Paraguay is offered.
42:35-44:45 = Davo points out that Brazil played to a draw with Ecuador to start the tournament, and now will play Haiti next. Rog says that nobody in Brazil is talking about this tournament. He adds that it’s an important tournament for US fans but one great myth about Brazil is that they love soccer, when in reality they’re only interested when their teams are winners. The guys then call out Neymar for hanging out with Justin Bieber, and Jamie Foxx, and not the M.I.B.
44:45-47:15 = The topic shifts to Mexico and their impressive opening win over Uruguay. They call it “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare” and mention that he might have underestimated the size of the wall he’s going to have to build, and may have to begin building it in America. They then review the key parts of the game,
47:15-48:45 = Next, the guys turn their attention to Argentina knocking off Chile 2-1. Leo Messi didn’t play, and the guys agree that he wasn’t needed to win this contest. Rog brings up the new fad that’s catching on where European futbol players have started going blonde.
48:45-51:05 = After learning that England coach Roy Hodgson told Jamie Vardy to keep his focus on France despite the Arsenal triggering a release clause in his Leicester City contract, Rog and Davo debate whether or not Vardy is the right type of fit for the Arsenal. Rog asks “is this the type of ending we want for the Jamie Vardy movie?” A discussion about Vardy’s career develops, and the guys agree that he’s best suited to remain with Leicester City but they’re not sure that will be possible.
51:05-52:50 = Will Josie Mourinho end up with Manchester United? That’s the next focus of conversation. The guys discuss his strengths on the field, why he’d be the right type of fit, and the financial commitment that will be necessary to retain his service. Although Rog understands the move, he cautions that it could turn out to be a Michael Jordan on the Washington Wizards type of decision. This leads to discussion about Ilkay Gundogan signing a 4-year agreement with Manchester.
52:50-54:45 = Davo brings up another news story, pointing out that Everton has agreed to a deal with Southampton which will allow Ronald Koeman to become their new manager. Rog understands why some might be confused by the move but offers some explanations of why it happened.
54:45-55:30 = One final news item is brought up before the show wraps up. Davo informs the audience that Swansea City have become the latest American owned Premier League club. The decision awaits approval but Rog thinks it’s a fantastic move because it means that the new ownership group will be absentee landlords trying to lead a club to the promised land.
55:30-57:00 = A preview of what’s on tap for the weekend followed by a Live read for Seat Geek.
57:00-60:00 =With the show winding down, Davo reminds people how they can interact. It starts with promotion of their Amazon emporium page which the guys generate some revenue from. After Rog mentions a book he’s placing in the emporium, and what makes it a worthwhile read, Davo brings up that he will be taking his family to France next week and won’t be available to cover the show with him. This leads to a natural plug for the Disney Store’s Star Wars rolling case, carry on suitcase.
60:00-61:10 = The guys sign off by reminding people to watch the COPA, and their video episodes on ViceSports.com. They also promote their newsletter “The Raven” which is co-produced along with their partner Guinness. Davo wraps up by mentioning that the guys will be providing a special Euro 2016 preview where some of their past guests preview their home countries. Three of those guests are Sheamus from the WWE, Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards, and NBC Sports commentator and former footballer Robbie Mustoe. The guys then sign off with a unique and clever exchange that goes as follows:
- Vanderpunk Rog – War Pig
- Who wants to sex Mutombo – explosia
- Courage – take that Gloria
- Is that your analysis – I love seer sucker
- Cmon United States of America, Cmon Saint Booby Wood
- Love you Rog, Love you Davie
I was eager to review this show because it was outside of my comfort zone. Truth be told, I’m not a soccer fan. I also don’t listen often to sports talk delivered by british personalities. I had heard that the “Men In Blazers” were a rare, and enjoyable listen, and I wanted to discover if the show was worthy of the praise it had received.
It took a little bit of time for me to get used to their delivery, and some of the words weren’t easy to comprehend, but the more I listened, the more entertained I became. Rog and Davo have an incredible chemistry, and their quick wit stands out. Equally as impressive is the way Rog’s brain works. His analogies, phrases, and one-liners keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what else he has up his sleeve. Davo plays the perfect foil and knows when to interject, step back, add his own comedic value, or move the conversation along.
During the span of an hour, I laughed frequently. The word combinations were brilliant, and flew so fast that I had to rewind the show a few times to make sure I heard things correctly. As an example, here are five clever lines that stood out.
- “It’s futbol in which the majority of athletes don’t care about chasing a trophy which is not real before crowds that are not there. Kanye West drew bigger crowds for a 2am concert that didn’t happen in New York City in the rain.”
- “Nothing makes me think about my own death and self loathing more than white canadian reggae artists. If the name Magik wasn’t enough, they needed an exclamation mark after it. If you didn’t see them, just imagine one of Kyle Beckerman’s wet dreams and that’s what played out before America.”
- “He had the finish of a foreigner, a foreigner who is the best foreigner since I want to know what love is.”
- “Gyasi Zardes was tearing in on goal with the heavy touch of a tender lover.”
- “They were worse than David Beckham’s Spanish in a Sprint commercial.”
From a content standpoint, they dove in quickly, and focused the majority of the show on the US team’s performance in the COPA America tournament. They gave the audience ten solid minutes on the last game, and after a reset, move into other storylines involving Team USA. Altogether they kept the discussion interesting for forty two minutes. This shows a commitment on their end to feature the content that will have the broadest appeal to an American audience.
When they finish discussing the US team, they navigate through seven topics involving other international teams in thirteen minutes. The pace during these topics is fast, but Rog and Davo still have time to inform, and entertain.
As it applies to business, this is a very rich content experience. There are a few live reads at the end of the show, and the inclusion of Guinness via a sound effect and verbal plug early on, but it’s not heavily filled with sponsors. That could be by design, or it could speak to a bigger challenge in selling the show. For a listener though, you get a lot of content without disruption.
If there’s an area where this particular show could improve, it’s in the production space. Beyond the verbal interaction between Roger and Davo, there’s nothing extra to it. If you were hoping to hear a guest, audience participation, creative bits, audio clips, etc. you’re not going to find what you’re looking for.
To their credit, they’re entertaining enough without guests or calls. When they discuss subjects though such as Klinsmann’s comments, Team USA defeating Costa Rica, or Mexico defeating Uruguay, they could have easily included audio of Klinsmann, a USA goal, and/or Trump talking about building a wall to make the content experience more creative and engaging.
If you struggle to appreciate an international flavor of conversation than you’re not going to enjoy the Men In Blazers. Their accents are noticeable, and their cadence, analogies, and everyday conversation is vastly different from what many Americans are used to hearing. If you’re not interested in hearing about soccer, that too will turn you off. It’s the key focus of the entire broadcast.
However, if you enjoy soccer, or can allow yourself to be entertained, the Men In Blazers will give you your money’s worth. Their verbiage, phrasing, analogies, comedic timing, sarcasm, and chemistry are excellent, and you can tell how much Rog and Davies enjoy hosting together. You’re left in stitches every few minutes courtesy of their unique stories, observations, and one liners. They see the world of sports differently, and it takes some getting used to, but they provide a program that is content rich, fast paced, funny, smart, and unique.
The creative can be enhanced, and I wonder how much revenue can be generated for a show like this, but for a listener there’s a lot of meat on the bone to chew on. If I enjoyed soccer more, this would be a weekly must-listen. But since the sport has less appeal to me, that makes it tougher to commit to on a regular basis. That said, I’m convinced that if you gave these guys an hour to talk about a gallon of milk, rebuilding a transmission, or herding cattle, they’d still find a way to make it entertaining.