Bragging Rights in Jeopardy

Sam Graham, Layout editor

Beginning on Jan. 7, the classic TV game show, “Jeopardy!” kicked off its “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” tournament. The tournament featured three contestants, as all Jeopardy games do, but with a little twist. The three contestants were the three greatest players the TV program has seen.
Each contestant has earned Jeopardy fame in their own eras and their own ways.
The players were Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter. Many may remember James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, who went on a 32-episode win streak on the show last year, in which he won $2,714,416 and set the record for most consecutive wins all time on the show.
Jennings, an author from Seattle, Wash., went on his run back in 2004, winning 74 straight episodes and collecting $2,520,700 in the process. Jennings is one of the most storied Jeopardy players of all time as he has participated in numerous tournaments including the “IBM Challenge,” in 2011 where he lost to a Watson computer.
Rutter had never lost a match of Jeopardy until losing to the Watson Computer and Jennings back in 2011. He has won 22 games of Jeopardy, including a five-day streak in 2000, after which he retired, due to a show stipulation that existed during Rutter’s run that didn’t allow players to continue playing after having won five straight games. He collected $55,102 in winnings as well as two cars. Rutter, an ex-TV host turned actor now lives in Los Angeles, Calif.
The three came together this year to compete in the greatest Jeopardy match of all time, with the winner taking home bragging rights and a $1 million prize.
The rules of the tournament were relatively simple but a little different than any other Jeopardy match prior. Each night, two classic Jeopardy games would be played back-to-back and the players’ total points from both games would be added together to determine the winner of that night. Then, whichever player was the first to win three nights, would be crowned the greatest of all time.
Jennings took home the trophy, earning his third win on Jan. 14, with Holzhauer finishing in second with one win, and Rutter rounding out the three with no wins. However, Holzhauer and Rutter were both still awarded $250,000 in runners-up prizes.
Holzhauer seemed poised to knock off Jennings and earn his second win in the fourth night, which would have kept the tournament going, but missed a Shakespeare-themed clue on Final Jeopardy, costing him all of the money he had won in the second match of the night as well as a possible crown and $1 million.
While Jennings took home the trophy and will forever be known as the greatest Jeopardy player of all time, Rutter ended the tournament still having won the most money of anyone in his career on the show. The $250,000 third place prize increased his all time winnings to over $5 million.
Holzhauer, only 34 years old, will be greatly remembered not only for his 32 game win streak, but also for still holding the Jeopardy record for most money won in a single game, after accumulating $131,127 during his historic run.
Alex Trebek, the beloved host of the show since 1984, has been battling stage four pancreatic cancer since 2019. He told the contestants at the end of the tournament that it may be the last time the three of them all appear together on the show.
Amidst all of the incredibly intelligent geniuses we hear about as contestants on the show, Trebek has been there for it all, having hosted 36 consecutive seasons of the show and shows no signs of stopping.
Trebek told Fox News, “I want to be remembered as a nice guy who was the best kind of quiz show host in that he was always rooting for the contestants.”