Hot Dog Eating Contest More Like Football Than We Thought

July 6, 2010

Despite the debate over whether it can be considered a sport, hot dog eating has its very own league, appropriately named Major League Eating. As the Associated Press reported, it’s “the fast-food equivalent of the NFL.” And this year’s Coney Island Fourth of July contest definitely resembled a football game, complete with tackling. Keep reading to find out more.

Takeru Kobayashi, known as “The Tsunami,” has won the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest six times, but did not participate this year due to contract issues. That, however, did not stop him from jumping onto the eating platform after Joey “Jaws” Chestnut won his fourth consecutive title and wrestling with police. See, it’s a lot like football!

Kobayashi had some fans in the crowd, though, as the chant “Let him eat!” rang out. Even with that kind of endorsement, Kobayashi was expected to spend the night in jail. That’s pretty ironic, considering his publicist, Maggie James, defended his actions by saying that the Major League Eating wouldn’t allow Kobayashi to enter other contests and that he was “fighting for his freedom – on Independence Day!” Fighting for your freedom to stuff your face – all in the name of sports – I don’t think that’s what our forefathers had in mind!

And the fact remains that Takeru Kobayashi is Japanese, so he’s probably not too concerned about Independence Day. One has to wonder what he was thinking when he jumped on stage. If Joey Chestnut has won his fourth consecutive title, that means The Tsunami is on a losing streak. Could his so-called fight for freedom really have been a way to finagle a publicity stunt? It seems unlikely, but hot dog eating contests are a cutthroat sport. And when your biggest rival has just won for the fourth year in a row, you might do something crazy. Like jump onstage and tackle the police, NFL style. Still, MLE Chairman George Shea said, “This guy did great things for our sport… He’s a fearsome competitor.” Expect to see Kobayashi around for a long time. You know, once he’s out of jail.

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