Seeking to find a niche after washing out as an NFL quarterback, JaMarcus Russell upset six-time champion Joey Chestnut in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July at Coney Island, NY.
“Look at me now,” Russell told ESPN reporters after downing 67 hot dogs in 10 minutes coming within one wiener from the world’s record.
Cheered on by his eating coaches and mentors, comedian Louis Anderson and ex-NFL player Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Russell, who has slimmed to a svelte 303 pounds, started slowly, but rallied for the victory.
Upsetting Chestnut was no easy feat. Chestnut holds several world eating records, including once consuming 380 shrimp wontons in 9 minutes and a 5-pound, 17 inch burrito in seven minutes. He also holds the title for most matzoh balls consumed, 78 in eight minutes, and for downing 22.25 gyros sandwiches in 10 minutes.
The former champ did not take the loss well.
“JaMarcus freakin’ Russell? You’re kidding me,” said Chestnut. “I feel like Mike Tyson after he got his nuts kicked by Buster Douglas. It will be years before I get over this.”
“My Super Bowl, baby, like the Cleveland Browns beating the 49ers by six touchdowns,” Russell said. “By the way, Cleveland Browns, if you’re looking for a third-stringer, I’m your guy.”
As a result of his win, Russell said he will no longer pursue a job with an NFL team.
“I’m going on the major league eating circuit. I’ll make more money than I will by sitting on my fat ass on the bench of some NFL team.”
“Most of all, I get free food.”