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Old 08-26-2010, 05:52 AM
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Default Top 10 Longest Sporting Events

By now we’ve all heard about the epic tennis match that happened recently at Wimbledon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. That 11-hour marathon has now earned its place in history as one of the longest sporting events on record, but it’s certainly not the first time that a competition has simply refused to end. Over the years there have been a number of grueling contests that lasted several hours or days, often with extraordinary consequences for the competitors involved. Here are the ten most famous examples.

10. Football: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins/Arkansas vs. Kentucky

During the regular season in the NFL, football games are allowed to end in ties, so all the great marathon games happen postseason. The most famous example? Christmas day 1971, when the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins squared off in an AFC divisional playoff game. The game was a back and forth battle that went to overtime when the Chiefs missed a chip-in field goal with only seconds left on the clock. The game went into overtime tied at 24-24, but after an extra quarter both teams remained stymied. It was only in the second overtime that Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian converted a 37-yard kick to give Miami the win. The game that has since been dubbed the NFL’s “Longest Day” produced some amazing stats. Perhaps the most impressive numbers belonged to Kansas City’s running back, Ed Podolack, who gained 350 all purpose yards.

College football overtimes aren’t sudden death, and this often sets the stage for multiple overtime games, the most famous of which is a game between Arkansas and Kentucky from 2003. The game was tied at 24-24 at the end of regulation, and it took a full seven overtimes before Arkansas finally won 71-68. Five players ended up with multiple touchdowns, and the teams combined for over 1000 yards of offense.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:53 AM
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9. Chess: Ivan Nicolic vs. Goran Arsovic



It’s theoretically possible for a chess match to go on for 5,949 moves, but such a feat seems unlikely when you consider that the longest chess game on record only included 269 moves—and still lasted over 20 hours. The game took place in Belgrade in 1989 between Ivan Nicolic and Goran Arsovic. After nearly a day of play, only five pieces remained on the board. Nicolic had his king, a bishop, and a rook, while Arsovic had only his King and a rook. But after over a hundred moves with no change, the match was finally declared a draw. This obscenely long match helped lead the World Chess Federation to institute the “50 move rule,” which states that a game can be declared a draw as soon as each player has made 50 moves without capturing one of his opponent’s pieces. This means that the record set in Nicolic vs. Arsovic is unlikely to ever be broken.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:54 AM
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8. Poker: Phil Laak

Gambling lore is filled with stories of poker games that went on for days, but the longest live game on record happened only weeks ago, when professional card shark Phil Laak played live poker at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas for over 115 hours. Other than a five-minute break every hour, Laak managed to stay at the table nearly nonstop for almost five days, shattering the previous record set of 72 hours set by Larry Olmstead in 2004. Laak, who’s known as “the Unabomber” because of his trademark hooded sweatshirts, claimed to stay sharp by doing yoga and adhering to a strict diet in the weeks prior to his record attempt. He also swore that he did not use any caffeine or other stimulants to help him stay awake, even though he only took a 30-minute nap one time during his entire ordeal. Amazingly, after 115 hours of nearly uninterrupted play, Laak still managed to cash out $6,766 in winnings.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:56 AM
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7. Cricket: England vs. South Africa



It might come as a surprise to most Americans, but cricket has produced some of the most absurdly long contests in sports history. Depending on the rules, a game is only over after one side has scored more runs and dismissed all of the opposition’s batsmen, but most modern cricket matches allow for a draw to be called after a certain amount of time has elapsed. This was once not the case with Test match cricket, the more grueling version of the game played by international teams. Test matches are usually scheduled for at least five days, at which point the highest scoring team is declared the winner. In some of the early Tests, Cricket was played in the same “timeless” style as baseball, which allowed for matches to go on indefinitely until one team won it all. This is exactly what happened in 1939 in Durban, South Africa, when England and South Africa competed in what is now known as “The Longest Test.” The match started on March 3, and continued on for a further nine days (two off days and a rain-out day were also included) with neither team able to close things out. By the 12th day, England was poised to take the win with a record 654 runs, but the match had to be called off in order for the English players to catch their boat ride back home. It was only then that “the Longest Test” was finally declared a draw.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:57 AM
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6. Boxing: Harry Sharpe vs. Frank Crosby



Anyone who’s ever boxed can tell you just how physically taxing of a sport it is, so it’s amazing to discover that there have been fights that managed to go on for several hours. One of the most notable is a match that took place in 1892 between Harry Sharp and Frank Crosby. At just over 5 hours, this brutal contest is the longest knockout fight to ever be held under modern boxing rules. The match took place in Nameoki, Illinois, and it was said to be a dead even fight, to the point that it wasn’t until the 76th round that both men finally knocked each other down simultaneously. Crosby supposedly hit his head on the ground hard, and even though he was able to get to his feet, Sharpe knocked him out a few minutes later. At a total time of 5 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, the Crosby/Sharpe fight is one of the longest bouts of all time. It proved to be so long, in fact, that the referee didn’t even last the full duration. Supposedly, the fight’s ref was fighting a cold by taking the occasional pull from a flask of liquor. According to boxing lore, the man passed out in the 65th round, leaving Sharpe and Crosby to fight their last 12 rounds with no officiating. (Note from editor: unable to locate image of Sharpe and Crosby. Shown: boxer from late 1800s/early 1900s – name unknown.)
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