Contested over three days, their first-round clash lasted 11 hours and eight minutes, with the 23rd-seeded Isner prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. The clash of big men with huge serves obliterated the previous record for the longest match, which had been six hours and 33 minutes.
So since they clearly have no peer in their own sport, perhaps the only way to put the Isner/Mahut freak show into perspective is to compare it to some of the other epic struggles in sports history.
10. Dolphins vs. Chiefs, 1971
With 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter of their playoff game against the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud missed a 22-yard field goal that would have won the game. Instead the score remained 24-24 and play continued through one scoreless overtime period and halfway through another, when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian finally provided the game-winning points on a 37-yarder. At 82:40, it remains the longest game in NFL history.
He was a very versatile athlete from his linebacker position, as he was able to pick off 27 career passes as a Chief. Willie teamed up with Bobby Bell to form arguably the best linebacker duo in the history of the franchise. He went to nine Pro Bowls and played in started in nearly every game of his eleven year career in KC. Like many others on this list, Lanier was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame and NFL Hall of fame for his amazing abilities and accomplishments on the gridiron.
“You’re not ever content being a backup,” Croyle said Friday after working out for 30 minutes at the new D1 Sports Training and Therapy facility, which he partly owns, in Homewood near Brookwood Medical Center. “Once you play, once you’ve started, you always have that drive. If you lose that drive, you’re probably not in love with game anymore. Obviously, I want to start, but I’m in a good position there.”
Croyle has played in only 16 games (nine starts) in four seasons with the Chiefs, who selected him in the third round of the 2006 draft out of Alabama. He has completed 173 of 300 passes for 1,631 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The next day he received a call from the Kansas City Chiefs inviting him to training camp as an undrafted free agent.
The Chief’s featured back, Priest Holmes, was pondering retirement after suffering a career-threatening neck injury, and they needed a back up to Larry Johnson who was to enter the season as the new starter.
“That was the opportunity I was looking for,” Ross said. “I knew if I just had a chance I could prove that I belonged.”
Ross did enough to impress first-year Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards and earned an NFL contract.
He vividly recalls stepping onto the field at Houston’s Reliant Stadium for the first preseason game of the 2006 season.
Playing close to his hometown of Huntsville, several of his family and friends were in attendance.
He did whatever was asked of him during his first 16-game season, relishing any chance to step on the field and finding his role on special teams.
At the conclusion of the season, Edwards met with Ross and asked him to represent the team in NFL Europa and continue working on his game.
It was another opportunity for Ross to excel.
Playing for the Cologne (Germany) Centurions in the NFLEL’s final season, Ross led the league with 933 yards from scrimmage and earned the NFL Europa Most Valuable Player award.
It was on the way back from Germany, with his spirits were on top of the world, when Ross got the news that would slam the brakes on his meteoric rise.
“I was sitting at the airport in Dallas watching ESPN,” Ross said. “Priest Holmes decided he was coming back.”
After missing the 2006 season and contemplating retirement, Holmes and his big-money contract was ready to return to action.
Larry Johnson had established himself as the starter and Ross was left as the odd man out and was released from the organization.
Over the next two years, he slipped into a deep depression as he realized the dreams he had come so close to making the reality had slipped away.