The Ringer's Kyle Brandt on '10 Questions,' Aaron Rodgers, and the Raw Emotion of Sports
He grew up outside Chicago and attended Princeton University, where he was a three-year starter as a running back and kick returner. He was a cast member on MTV's The Real World in 2001 and also played a one-legged Marine in the television series Days of Our Lives from 2003 to 2006.
He also executive produced and wrote The Jim Rome Show for nine years. Kyle is married with a son and a daughter.
We spoke with Kyle for our Time-Out series, where we chat with folks in the sports world about their favorite athletes, teams, sports movies and shows, and their love of sports generally.
Kyle, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, where all the John Hughes '80s movies were shot. Now I live in Westchester, New York. Lot of baby strollers. Really good pizza.
Your earliest sports memory.
Seven years old. My older sister and I dancing to the Chicago Bears "Super Bowl Shuffle" VHS. When Walter Payton rapped "Running the ball is like making romance," I had no idea what he was talking about, but I knew it sounded cool.
Your favorite sports team.
I stopped having a favorite team years ago. I'm still an "enthusiast" for the Bears, but I don't consider myself a "fan" because I don't care if they lose. I root for stuff to talk about now. But I'm a fan of teams' social media accounts. Four that I really respect in the NFL: Ravens, Bucs, Titans, Colts. Follow them.
Your favorite athlete.
I really like the way Aaron Rodgers handles himself. A fascinating, brilliant guy, whose media sessions are a seminar. He's done thousands of interviews, has been asked the same questions countless times—and he doesn't use clichés. It's uncanny. He really tries to give a thoughtful answer to every question, when at this point he could easily just mail them in and move on.
Your favorite sports show or podcast.
I don't listen to a lot of sports podcasts because podcasts, to me, are for escapism and entertainment. I don't need to listen to yet another voice give his take in my ear about Dak Prescott. I love The Rewatchables from The Ringer. And for years I've followed @BlaiseInKC on Twitter. He has these blunt sports observations that I appreciate, and his takes on marriage and home life are so relatable.
Your favorite sports movie and/or video game.
Movie: The Program. There are 15 seconds of Steve Lattimer screaming "Place at the table!" that encapsulate everything it meant to be a football tough guy in the mid-'90s. He was like the John Lennon of 17-year-old dudes on creatine, listening to Pantera. "Place at the Table" was our "Let It Be."
Video Game: Tecmo Bowl. And I mean the original. Four plays in the entire playbook. All you need. Bo Jackson gets all the hype, but Lawrence Taylor was actually the most dominant player in the game.
A recent project you're proud of.
10 Questions, and that's the word: proud. It's a really good product. I've done some things that are good, some average, maybe one or two below average. 10 Questions is excellent. And it's original. Whatever you think of it, you have to admit it doesn't sound like every other podcast. I conceived the idea by myself, and I write every question. I love doing it.
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
The Pat McAfee Show. It's instantly original, first 15 seconds. I'm infatuated with shows, movies, books that are different. And Pat's not even trying to be different. He's just himself, and it shows. With so many people seeming inauthentic and produced as they bark their opinions, Pat strikes me as genuine.
What sports can do that nothing else can.
Sports can still get me to scream. I mean, actually jump off the couch and scream. Game of Thrones didn't do that. Breaking Bad didn't. But when DeAndre Hopkins caught that Hail Mary last fall, I actually screamed. And that was in a regular-season CARDINALS-BILLS game, for God's sake.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the sports world.
I would probably not be doing well. I was a flailing actor, running out of money when sports came into my life by way of The Jim Rome Show. If Jim had never found me, I'd be living in a two-bedroom condo on Moorpark in Studio City, driving a Nissan Z and hoping to nail my audition to guest star on CSI: New Orleans.