That was the classy tweet from Matt Amodio after his 38-game streak of wins on “Jeopardy!” ended today. That leaves him second on the all-time list, only halfway to the still-unbelievable 75 victories Ken Jennings racked up.
So, how did Amodio lose? The same way James Holzhauer did when his 32-game string ended — by running into players who were faster on the buzzer. Yes, Amodio choked on a few responses, including Final Jeopardy (even an ultra-broad knowledge base has some holes), but the swiftness with which both Jonathan (the eventual winner) and Jessica (the runner-up) were able to ring in and answer correctly meant Matt didn’t get enough chances to increase his total.
You could see the disappointment begin to appear on Matt’s face about halfway through Double Jeopardy. I saw him mentally calculating whether he could catch up by answering all the rest of the clues left on the board, but when Jonathan hit the second Daily Double, Matt knew it was over.
Still, Amodio has nothing to hang his head about. Not only did his winnings exceed $1.5 million, but he did it while maintaining his reputation as a nice guy — the opponents he crushed along the way always said so, and even gave him a standing ovation when he passed the $1 million mark.
Oh, and give credit to the “Jeopardy!” staff, who managed to keep the news of today’s defeat from leaking before it aired. It helped not to have a studio audience because of continuing COVID protocols, but there wasn’t a peep in the press. It’s more impressive that it happened shortly after the very public Mike Richards nightmare that had everyone there rattled. Even Amodio, who taped these episodes weeks ago, kept up a happy stream of responses to fans on Twitter without giving anything away.
Interesting tidbit: if Amodio had been able to keep going and catch up to Jennings, it would have been after Mayim Bialik’s 5-week hosting stint ends, and the next person giving the clues would have been, yes, Jennings. That’s a TV moment we won’t get to see, unfortunately.
But we will get to see Amodio back on that set. He’ll get another shot at the game whenever “Jeopardy!” holds its next Tournament Of Champions. Until then, let’s see how many other players learn from — and can duplicate — his strategies going forward.
Speaking of “Jeopardy,” there’s a new piece in the NY Times about how Mayim Bialik’s past statements — some of which are rooted in pseudoscience nonsense — won’t go away.