Jennings, who holds the show’s longest ever win streak with 74 consecutive victories in 2004, claimed the show’s GOAT title Tuesday night over competitors James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter. In the tournament format, the first to win three nights would take the prize. Jennings won the first and third nights of last week’s tournament, starting Tuesday night’s competition at two wins to Holzhauer’s one.
Along with the GOAT trophy, the 45-year-old software engineer turned author snagged $1 million in prize money, and a congratulations from beloved host Alex Trebek.
The “Greatest of All Time” matchup brought three record-breaking contestants together: Rutter has taken home the most winnings from the show ($4,688,436) and Holzhauer won the most money in a single game ($131,127) as part of his multimillion-dollar 32-game winning streak last year.
In the game’s final category of Shakespearean tragedies, Jennings was the only one to answer correctly: “Who is Iago?” He risked nothing, and with Holzhauer risking it all with a wrong answer, Jennings came out on top.
While Jennings may be taking home the trophy, many viewers felt Holzhauer “won” the night with this epic burn:
Oh my god. @James_Holzhauer delivering a sick burn to @bradrutter is amazing. And the reaction from @KenJennings is also excellent. Clearly, these three are having a blast together. #JeopardyGOATpic.twitter.com/h5DVmF295B
— Katt Hryciw (@KattHryciw) January 15, 2020
Trebek, who has continued to host the show during his chemotherapy treatments for stage 4 pancreatic cancer, said last year the “GOAT” concept was inspired by Holzhauer’s success, telling USA Today: “When James had his run last year, a lot of people were wondering, ‘Well, how would he do against Ken Jennings? How would he do against Brad Rutter?’ [They’re] our two most successful players in ‘Jeopardy!’ history.”
“These three players have won close to $10 million in ‘Jeopardy!’ prize money and over 100 games among them, so it was logical.”
Twitter users hailed the new GOAT for his win.
This is why Twitter is great https://t.co/ZEZ82Pro7Q
— Kevin Tucker (@kevin_tucker_) January 15, 2020
— Jonathan (@jkdforthree) January 15, 2020
— Melissa Pitchford (@melissapitchfo) January 15, 2020
Ken Jennings winning #JeopardyGOAT is so good and pure and now I’m about to ruin my night by watching the Democratic debate.
— Ashley Napier (@AshNape) January 15, 2020
— Lauren (@laurennann96) January 15, 2020