BEST OF THE BEST

Why Joey Chestnut belongs in the pantheon of all-time greats

Photo by Getty Images.

Death, taxes and Joey Chestnut winning the July 4th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The 36-year-old scoffed down a new world record of 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win his 13th Mustard Yellow Belt for the 13th time in 14 years. Chestnut's 75 Hot-Dogs broke his own record of 74 that he set in 2018. His 13 championships are now more than double the next highest total on the men's side. Takeru Kobayashi won 6.

Right now you can argue that nobody does their job better in the world than Chestnut does his. Chestnut won by 33 hot dogs and buns over second-place finisher Darron Breedon, who ate 42 hot dogs and buns. The 33 hot-dog-and-bun margin of victory is the largest since the Super Bowl of competitive eating split into men's and women's events in 2011. Chestnut belongs in the pantheon of all-time sports greats.

Chestnut is the closest thing to Babe Ruth we have seen in any athlete since the "Sultan of Swat" changed baseball forever. Ruth used to outhomer entire teams and now we see Chestnut outeat the total of multiple eaters combined. Chestnut is greatness personified and the most dominant athlete I have ever seen in my lifetime.

To any hater out there saying Chestnut is not a real athlete and competitive eating is not a sport, here is why you are wrong. Chestnut trains year-round to compete on the competitive eating circuit. Chestnut also has world records in Big Mac burgers and Hooters hot wings. He has a unique set of skills just as a NASCAR driver or a golfer does, and we don't question the validity of those sports? So why should we question Chestnut's?

Here are some Chestnut stats that will put his dominance in perspective. If you combine the titles of Michael Jordan and Tom Brady you are still one championship short of Chestnut's 13 Mustard Belts. Yogi Berra won 10 championships in baseball and Bill Russell won 11 championships in basketball and both don't match the total of Chestnuts.

The Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest averages 2 million viewers every year. That is a huge number for a sport that is known for only one main event once a year. Take that Peter King.

It has been said that the NFL owns a day of a week. Well, Joey Chestnut owns the 4th of July. What is more American than that?

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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