Jeopardy! is an American tradition that rivals any television game show in history. Since the original daytime version first aired in 1964, the quiz competition reminds its viewers every single night just how little random knowledge they actual know. Host Alex Trebek is a household name, but he announced in March 2019 that he would continue hosting the show while battling advanced pancreatic cancer until sadly passing away on November 8, 2020. Trebek’s charisma and intelligence drove Jeopardy! into millions of households, even if the contestants don’t always help him out.
If you’re an avid watcher of the show, you probably own something like this Jeopardy! Puzzles and Games Book to help dominate your local trivia night. While you might not be as well-versed in World History or Shakespearean characters, you’d think everybody at least knows SOMETHING about sports, right? Sadly, that’s not the case as past contestants unfortunately showed on national television.
One of the greatest gaffs in Jeopardy! history came in February 2018, as anticipation built the week before Super Bowl 52 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Naturally, the quiz show brought out a football category titled “Talkin’ Football” to celebrate.
What happened, however, is none of the three Jeopardy contestants had any idea what to answer, a train wreck ensued, and Alex Trebek let ’em have it.
Jeopardy Contestants’ Football Fail
The football questions included a few obvious ones that, in classic Jeopardy! fashion, even hinted at the answer.
“Your choice: Do or don’t name this play in which the QB runs the ball & can choose to pitch it to another back.”
Crickets from Ryan, Sara and Justin on that first question. Alright, so maybe not everyone knows the option play. They’ll get a pass for the first one.
“Tom Landry perfected the Shotgun formation with this team.”
Again, no one knew — or was willing to gamble — on saying the Dallas Cowboys, who may or may not still be America’s Team. Even Trebek cracked by saying, “Do you think we go to commercial?”
They didn’t, and the last category got worse as no one tried to answer a single question the rest of the way.
They didn’t know what a fair catch is, that offsetting penalties even existed, and completely whiffed on a video clue to the Minnesota Vikings vaunted defense of the 1970s known as the “Purple People Eaters.”
These three aren’t the only ones to fall flat on their face, either. Back in 2017, the names of some famous NFL teams completely escaped these contestants. Ever heard of “Mean” Joe Greene and the Pittsburgh Steelers? Well, they sure didn’t. A commercial break was never needed more.
Clearly, Jeopardy! doesn’t attract many big football fans.
I tune in at least once a week, especially if I like a particular contestant on the show. However, any time I see a complete sports fail by the entire panel, it irks me to the bone. I might be head-over-heels in love with sports and competition, but these were just too easy.
Some contestants might be able to tell you every detail about the Roosevelt family, but somehow, they just fumble the buzzer when it comes to sports.
This post was originally published March 7, 2019, but clips of Alex Trebek like this remain timeless.