Jeopardy! fans have an interesting theory about Mattea Roach, and she’s putting those theories to rest.
Roach is currently on a 22-day winning streak, which quite literally makes her a Jeopardy! legend. The 23-year-old tutor is now ranked among the top 10 most winningest players in the gameshow’s nearly 4-decade run.
Because she’s a legend, fans have begun obsessing over her every move. Everyone wants to know how she manages to keep up with the competition. And, of course, it’s always interesting to get into the mind of a genius.
According to Vulture, one thing that fans have been speculating about is how she’s interacting with the other players. Or more specifically, if she’s intentionally trying to psych them out.
Hearing that theory is surprising to Mattea Roach. Though, she understands why people came to that conclusion.
“I looked at the other contestants if they got a Daily Double or if they were telling their anecdotes,” she shared. “During the game, I was only looking at the board. Didn’t pay attention to what anyone else was saying other than if someone else responded to a clue incorrectly.”
However, the Jeopardy! champ said that she’s never once tried to “distract” her opponents. Not only is there no time to be conniving during the game, but she only wants wins based on her intellect.
“The notion of my comments being distracting either to the viewers or the players, I was like, Huh? You don’t have time to think about weird mind games. If I say this, will it throw somebody else off? I would never want to be deliberately distracting to another player because it’s so unsportsmanlike. I like to think it didn’t have that impact. If production sensed it did, I certainly think I would’ve been told to tone it down.”
Mattea Roach Admits that her Nerves Get the Best of Her on ‘Jeopardy!’
But despite everything, Mattea Roach knows that Jeopardy! fans will always theorize about players, especially those who have unique nuances. People who have been watching for years have come up with their own strategies. And when someone goes against “the norm, it’s going to seem a little weird and perhaps distracting.”
Roach knows that players like her add some flair to the screen, though. It’s never fun to watch the same type of gameplay week after week. So she’s ok with people studying her every movie.
But more importantly, she’s setting the record straight, Roach’s reaction to the other players has nothing to do with strategy and everything to do with nerves.
“One of the things that makes the game interesting is the people who are playing aren’t professional game-show contestants,” she added. “We’re regular people who have real jobs. Me talking through things wasn’t so much nervous chatter than stream of consciousness. That was helping me make decisions.”