Never Ending: The Five Longest Games in Sports History
On June 24, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut finally finished the longest match in tennis history. Their match lasted three days and over 11 hours.
The first four sets looked like any typical tennis match, but the fifth set put this game in the record books. Isner finally beat Mahut 70-68.
This match made me think about the longest games in sports history and where Isner vs. Mahut stands in the record books.
On the next slides are five of the longest games in sports history. Some of these are obvious to the average sports fan, and others will be very surprising.
Baseball: Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Rochester Red Wings
On April 18, 1981, the Pawtucket Red Sox played the Rochester Red Wings at the Red Sox stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
The game began at 7:00 pm and lasted 32 innings until 4:07 am. After 32 innings, the game was stopped and resumed two months later.
When the game was resumed, it only took the Pawtucket Red Sox one more inning to win the game. In the bottom of the 33rd inning, Dave Koza drove in Marty Barrett to score the winning run.
Pawtucket won 3-2.
This game broke many records in professional baseball. Besides being the longest game ever played (33 innings, eight hours and 23 minutes), this game set the record for total strikeouts (60), total at-bats (219), and at-bats by one player in a game (14).
In addition, this game featured Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs, two future Hall of Fame players.
There will never be another game like this in the history of professional baseball.
Basketball: Rochester Royals vs. Indianapolis Olympians
On Jan. 6, 1951, the Indianapolis Olympians beat the Rochester Royals 75-73.
From this score, no one would guess that this was the longest game in NBA history. In reality, the game featured six overtimes and lasted 78 minutes, almost the equivalent of two basketball games.
The two teams combined only had 23 shot attempts in overtime, fewer than the average team takes in a quarter. When this game was played, there was no shot clock, thus slowing the scoring possibilities.
Hockey: Montreal Maroons vs. Detroit Red Wings
On March 24, 1936, the Detroit Red Wings played the Montreal Maroons in the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the first game of the series, the score was tied at zero leading into overtime.
In the playoffs, hockey games cannot end in a tie, so the teams have to play until there is a winner.
In the case of the Maroons and Red Wings, they had to play for a whopping six overtimes.
Their game lasted over 176 minutes, almost three times a regulation hockey game. It finally ended when Detroit's Mud Bruneteau scored the game's only goal in the 177th minute.
Football: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins
On Christmas Day, 1971, the Kansas City Chiefs played the Miami Dolphins in the longest game in NFL History. The game was also the first round of the AFC divisional playoff.
At the end of regulation, the score was tied at 24. The Chiefs had the chance to score a game-winning field goal with 35 seconds remaining, but the team's kicker, Jan Stenerud, missed the posts.
The first overtime ended scoreless. In the second overtime, the Dolphin kicker, Garo Yepremian, scored a field goal with 7:20 remaining on the clock. It had finally ended with a 27-24 victory for the Dolphins.
Overall, the game lasted for 82 minutes and 40 seconds, seven minutes longer than any other NFL game played.
Tennis: Nicolas Mahut vs. John Isner
Tennis fans witnessed perhaps the greatest match in tennis history at the 2010 Wimbledon.
In the first round of the tournament, John Isner played Nicolas Mahut. The first four sets of the match were like any other—6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), and 7-6 (3)—but the fifth set is where history was made.
After the fifth set was suspended twice, Isner finally beat Mahut 70-68 on the 980th point of the match. The fifth set alone lasted well over eight hours.
The previous longest tennis match was six-and-a-half hours, four-and-a-half hours shorter than Isner vs. Mahut.
Over the course of the match, Isner finished with 112 aces, and Mahut had 103 of his own. Both men broke the previous record for aces in a match, which was 73.
Although Isner will be moving on and Mahut won't, both of these players will go down in history not only for the length of their match, but also for the grit and determination they showed throughout.