‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Ryan Long Speaks Out About Fans Accusing Him of Throwing Final Game

by Caitlin Berard

Though Ryan Long’s time on Jeopardy! has come to an end, he made quite an impact as a contestant. Not only did he rack up an incredible 16 wins and nearly $300,000 in winnings, but he won the hearts of fans across the country while he did it.

Fans found Ryan’s quiet confidence, high-risk betting strategy, and dry sense of humor endearing. Because of this, they were absolutely devastated when his streak ended with a loss to Jeopardy! newcomer Eric Ahasic.

After 16 wins, fans couldn’t believe it was over. Some fans, in fact, were in such disbelief that they went as far as to accuse Ryan of losing to Eric on purpose. Ryan Long, however, explained that this wasn’t the case at all.

“I saw somebody say that I threw the game,” Ryan shared with USA Today. “I didn’t throw the game. I didn’t lay down for it, but I wasn’t sad that I lost either. I felt like I was maybe ready to go, but I didn’t lay down. But I knew I wasn’t on my top form that day when the Daily Double with Dr. King came up.”

“I’ve done projects on Dr. King,” he continued. “I’ve studied Dr. King. My mother told me about Dr. King growing up. I knew he went to Boston and lived there, but when I got that question, when I blanked on it, I was like, ‘Alright, well. That’s probably a sign.'”

Though he didn’t lose on purpose, Ryan wasn’t at peak Jeopardy! performance, either. “I was just a little slower on the buzzer that day than normal,” Ryan Long recalled. “But I’m not taking anything away from Eric. He played a hell of a game.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Super Champ Ryan Long Shares Heartfelt Message With Fans

When Ryan Long journeyed to California for his first Jeopardy! appearance, he was a rideshare driver barely making ends meet. This was a particularly stressful situation for him, as he had his 8-year-old son to consider, not just himself.

Becoming a Jeopardy! champ changed his life, however, and rather than worrying how he’s going to keep the lights on, Ryan Long is currently wading through the complex tasks of hiring a lawyer and an accountant.

As he found success virtually overnight, despite his belief that he probably wouldn’t make it very far, Ryan is now urging fans to chase their dreams because a life-changing moment might be just around the corner. “I don’t care what you do or what people tell you you are, what society tells you you are,” Ryan said. “If you think you can do it, get up there and do it. If it’s possible, if you feel like you can really do it, then don’t let that fear hold you back.”