Jeopardy! is experiencing an era of unprecedented success. The era of the super champion is in full swing as Ryan Long has now won over ten games and counting. One former contestant is pointing out what an anomaly the last year has been.
A Quick Refresher
It feels like there’s more consistency from contestants than hosts for Jeopardy!. In the last year, five contestants have won over ten games: Matt Amodio, Jonathan Fisher, Amy Schneider, Mattea Roach, and now Ryan Long. While the hosting desk has seen guest hosts: Mike Richards and finally Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, these remarkable streaks have kept the show glued together.
A Statistical Anomaly
A former contestant and Twitter user points out what’s made the last year of Jeopardy! so special. “There have been just 14 people in the history of Jeopardy! to win 10+ games, and FIVE of them have been in the last year.”
To add even more perspective, just look at the consecutive games won ranking. Ken Jennings sits far out of reach with 74 wins, but four of the next nine are all from the last year. This is not normal.
A Shift In The Rules
Statistics like this can be a bit misleading. While Jeopardy! has existed since 1964, contestants weren’t always free to go on lengthy streaks. Perhaps to combat stigmas stemming from the game show scandals of the 1950s, winning streaks were originally capped to one week.
The rules didn’t change until 2003, with Jennings going off just one year later. It seems like super champions have a bit of an advantage because they can get used to how the buzzer works. If that were true, however, then you’d see super champions multiple times a year. That hasn’t been true until this year.
Who Is Ryan Long?
The reigning champion is Long. He’s a Lyft driver from Philadelphia who fosters cats and is a bit of a nerd. Long forgot his glasses in his first week of shows, but he’s retrieved them now. Long currently sits at 13 games won and will take home at least $252,700.
That’s certainly impressive, but it’s not much compared to the other champions this year. Roach took home $560,983, while both Amodoio and Schneider netted over $1 million. Only time will tell how far Long can go. Gossip Cop can’t wait for the tournament of champions where all these folks will compete in a battle of wits for the ages.