Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Top 20 Most Influential Sports Bloggers

Prepare yourself for some mind-caving navel-gazing, because Jamie Mottram and I have created a Bizarro version of Sports Business Journal's 20 most influential online sports media execs.

Since jumping from mainstream media into the sports-blog universe (six months ago today!), I have spent an unhealthy amount of time immersed in it. A few months ago, I was inspired to create a ranking of the most influential sports bloggers – totally subjective, but certainly based on what I was seeing, reading and hearing.

Then I discovered that Jamie was putting together a ranking of his own, and we decided that rather than compete with each other, we would collaborate on a Top 20 of the Most Influential Sports Bloggers, simultaneously posting the list on both of our blogs.

Our criteria? A combination of visibility, traffic, Technorati, our individual experiences as consumers -- and the same mysterious b.s. that holds every Top 20 list together.

1. Will Leitch, Deadspin: Simply put, he has more influence on mainstream sports coverage than anyone in mainstream sports media.

2. Tyler Bleszinski, SB Nation and A's Nation: President of the top sports blogging network, which should be bought for millions any day now.

3. Henry Abbott, TrueHoop: Acquired and hired by ESPN, providing inspiration for bloggers everywhere.

4. Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog: Redefining how traditional media can cover sports through blogging.

5. MJD*, The Mighty MJD and Deadspin: Pound-for-pound the most talented writer among sports bloggers. The next Bill Simmons?

6. Matt Ufford, With Leather and Kissing Suzy Kolber: From Deadspin commenter to KSK founding father to With Leather editor in just six months, being foul-mouthed and funny sure goes a long way.

7. Brother L, The Big Lead: Carves out an influential niche with sports-media gossip and must-read journo interviews that make (or break) careers.

8. Mark Cuban, Blog Maverick: Direct-to-fans communication model changed sports-media dynamics, and you never know what the hell he's going to say.

9. Orson Swindle, Every Day Should Be Saturday: National influence transcends college football's hyper-local focus.

10. Eric McErlain, Off Wing Opinion and NBC Sports: Long-time NHL blogger's efforts are getting his people in the press box.

11. Brooks, Sports by Brooks: T&A strategy and tireless snark yields massive traffic from the West Coast.

12. J.E. Skeets*, The Basketball Jones: Anchors the finest sports podcast going and uncovers endless amounts of top-grade YouTube video.

13. David Pinto, Baseball Musings: Leveraged "Baseball Tonight Online" gig into current status as a full-time, A-list MLB blogger.

14. Jason Gurney, Low Post, Strike Two and Fair Catch: Has created the Technorati of basketball, baseball and football.

15. Gilbert Arenas, Blog: Setting a new standard for athlete accessibility.

16. Bethlehem Shoals* et al, Free Darko: Primary purveyor of either the NPR or the Pitchfork of the NBA, depending on who you're talking to.

17. "Darvin Ham" et al, Wizznutzz: Raises the bar on otherworldly creativity while also dabbling in fabulous fashion.

18. Brian Cook*, M Go Blog: His college football BlogPoll brings dozens of top bloggers together and should be part of the BCS formula.

19. Ken Tremendous, Junior and Dak, Fire Joe Morgan: Pioneered essential format of scathing sports media criticism.

20. Bob Kellett, WorldCupBlog and The Offside: Amazing traffic every four years (11 million page views in June '06) and now a popular daily presence.

* - Full disclosure: Also writes for AOL Fanhouse, which is the group blog Jamie oversees.

It's worth pointing out: The depth of quality in sports blogging is phenomenal. The leap that has been made even in the last 18 months – or even the last year – has effectively allowed sports blogs, as a whole, to become as much of a fundamental part of fan consumption as ESPN or their local newspaper coverage. (And of all sports-media outlets, blogs have, by far, the most exciting growth prospects. Consider how many names on this list didn't even EXIST 6-to-18 months ago.)

Have there been omissions here? Are we blinded by our biases? Most definitely -- and we apologize if you or your favorite blog(s) aren't listed here. It's just two guys' opinion. One thing you'll notice is that most of the names below cover sports "nationally," rather than at the team-specific level. There are some wildly talented team-specific bloggers out there. And there are certainly other extremely good "national" bloggers out there. But, like any overreaching "list" ranking, it's a stake in the ground and a START to the discussion, more than anything else.

The only definitive analysis is that there is so much talent pushing up through the pipeline that a year from now, we both expect that there will be dramatic shifts on this list. What really separates sports blogs from traditional sports media is that it's far closer to a meritocracy: The best stuff – the fastest take, the freshest angle, the most prolific posts – tends to create its own influence.

-- D.S. and Jamie Mottram

UPDATE: Glaring Omissions.
OK, so as readers (and bloggers) have responded as we expected, with the natural reaction being, "How could you not list X?!" So we're going to maintain a running list of "Glaring Omissions." We're not admitting that we screwed up, but we acknowledge that this isn't an exact science and that the blogosphere is a big effing place. Watch this space for updates.

Aaron Gleeman (
Big Daddy Drew (Kissing Suzy Kolber)
GC (Can't Stop the Bleeding)
The Wiz (The Wizard of Odds)
Ladies... (Ladies-Dot-Dot-Dot)


Bethlehem Shoals said...

Gilbert, I'm coming for your #15 spot.

I humbly accept this award, and am creating a new corporate letterhead with my other free hand, on my other computer: OUT WITH THE PITCHFORK, IN WITH THE NPR.

Rob I said...

This list is incomplete without the guy who writes "Rich Kotite Banged Your Mom".

Enrico said...

While Cuban's blog is great and one of my favorites, I don't think it belongs on this list. It's not consistently about sports enough to rival stuff like MJD, etc. puts out.

Just my 2 cents.

Unsilent Majority said...

Too many gentiles!

clown said...

I love him, but I second deleting Cuban. He needs to rename it "".

Anonymous said...

So when does this blog officially get nominated for "top blogs that blog about nothing but lists of top blogs"?

Big Daddy Drew said...

How could you leave off Crissy Moran? What are you, a fucking idiot?

Oh wait, it's sports blogging. Whoop dee!!!

Unsilent Majority said...

Michael Jordan's Mistress was ROBBED

Rob I said...

21. Footsteps Falco

Just missed the cut.

albert804 said...

what about the guys at profootballtalk. or is that not a blog?

Unsilent Majority said...

Albert, they'd be more influential if they were ever right.

RevScottDeMangeMD said... must write for kissingsuzy. If not, try not to plagiarize and come up with your own material.

"We love Cubes, but BlogMaverick has long since turned into His site has about as much to do with sports or the NBA as"

Unknown said...

@ revscott:

@ Miguel:

Anonymous said...

Peter king raises his head from farves taint and thigns are suddenly much different.

Leitch is no question 1, putting him after simmons (on the other list) is an insult, he hijacked simmons page and destroyed so much so that espn gave up on the beta version.

Aditionally every story breaks earlier on deadspin than espn.

clown said...

@ Rev: Sorry, don't read KSK too often - I respect their work, I'm just not that big a fan of NFL. I'll make sure to search their archives, though, just in case I ever mistakingly have an original thought again.

Unsilent Majority said...

no need to check the archives. it's from this morning's post.

MDG said...

This list is a sham and a mockery its a shamockery without the dreamboat baby.

SteveJeltzFan said...

@ miguel, um, et al...

Miguel's joke was "bitchINaboutyoutube", KSK's was "bitchaboutyoutube." Totally different, as established by R. Van Winkle v Queen in VH1 BTM Circuit Court.

Nugg Doctor said...

Did the rankings on play any part in your decision?

RevScottDeMangeMD said...


question...who is under pressure credited to? both queen and bowie seem to sing equal parts. and the song is on both artists' "greatest hits."

Perks said...

Is Agent Steinz's name not bolded because of his daughter's birth?

Also, DanShan, does Steinz now get an invited to Varsity Dads?

Hockey Amor said...

I'd include Kukla's Korner (, hockey's blogging infomart.

mutoni said...

that's it. i quit!

Unknown said...

RevScott: It's credited to both equally both in terms of who sings it and who wrote it. It's an equal collaboration.

Anonymous said...

KSK is the worst site I've ever read. No clue why Will links to it so much.

Dale Cheddar said...

There's a new sherriff in town. Just kidding, it's just a shameless plug.

Unsilent Majority said...

No clue why Will links to it so much.

sexual favors

Anonymous said...

from sexy rexy/ suzy kolber.

Anonymous said...

Where's the love for Tas?!
There are TWO anchors on TBJ!!

Bathroom Jones said...

@ Nobody's Reading:

I disagree. If it wasn't for KSK, I never would have known about Amish Rake Fighting.

Captain Caveman said...

KSK is the worst site I've ever read.

You must not like the taste of urine, because we PISS EXCELLENCE.

Anonymous said...

Falco crapped mediocrity

I piss gatorade (it is no longer in me)

bubba said...

Good list. You guys need to check this blog out.

SEC football heavy, but they put out some hilarious stuff

Daniel-san said...

In between Dan Steinberg and MJD... 4a. Dan Shanoff of

Where's the love for yourself?

Jordi said...

Overheard conversation between the ranking powers and Jordi of The Serious Tip:

Jordi: I got news for you Mr. Shanoff and Mr. Mottram, you haven't heard the last of me. You guys may think I'm shit now, but someday you're gonna be sorry you didn't list me. I'm gonna keep writing on my site and every time that I write I'm gonna stick it up your f***in' a**!

(Throws keyboard against locker.)

Dan and Jamie: Good, we like that kind of spirit in a blogger. The only problem is we did list you.

Jordi: What?

Dan and Jamie: We think someone's been having some fun with you.

Jordi: Oh.

Pete said...

No mention of Eklund from Whether you love him or hate him, he is a major force in a professional sport in this country.

Chris said...

awesome list, I might completely and utterly lift the concept and put it on for Philly sports bloggers. Hope you don't mind.

bLiNdLuCk said...

Please tell me the Eklund suggestion was a joke or at least a drug induced hallucination.

I second the vote for Kukla's Korner and would add one for Good info, frequent posts and perhaps the best hockey blog name I've seen.

And I will refrain from submitting mine own.

Awful Announcing- said...

that's it. i quit!

I concur....I'm done as well.

Seriously are you not on this list Dan?

Syzslak11 said...

No love for Mondesi's House from Pittsburgh? That's a great site.

The Hundley said...

Great list, but a few GLARING ommissions:

Dan Shanoff: duh

DJ Gallo @ Sportspickle: This guy is at least doing something original, if you exclude The Onion, that is.

Buster Olney's ESPN MLB Blog: hands down THE site for baseball junkies. His access to stories is astounding, his defense is inpregnable, he will eat your children, praise be Allah!!

Chris said...

the bad thign about olney's blog is that it's behind the wall that is insider. Same problem with Rob Neyer's column.

The Big Picture said...

glaring ommissions are you and Jamie. you guys would bump most of that list down a bit.

Stormy said...

Ian Cohen - sexy-results and AOL Fanhouse.

J Money said...

We'll be there next year. Or not.

GotDebt said...

The sports bloggers tire me. I can't keep up. I don't NEED that much information. And most of the stuff is crap.

All they do is bitch and complain. And Kissing Suzy Kolber site? That guy is an ass. Nothing constructive from that site at all. Waste of bandwidth.

Please, please come to my site. I can scream louder than the rest. I'm cool. I can knock ANYONE down four rungs on the ladder. Brave souls. ESPN will own ya all sooner or later. Sellouts@!

studes said...

A good list if you like snarky writing.

Unknown said...

This list is missing two of the standouts in the hockey world. Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy is the best in the business. And for a more lighthearted take on hockey, there is none better than Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown (and occasionally Grantland).