The Iron Man Club: Top Consecutive Games Played Streaks in Sports

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On this date in 1997, Dallas Mavericks forward A.C. Green made NBA history. Green (above, right) played in his 907th consecutive game, breaking Randy Smith’s league record of 906 appearances in a row. Green would go on to extend his record streak to 1,192 straight games played, or more than 14 seasons of professional basketball with the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, and Heat without ever getting a day off.

Green’s streak is remarkable and impressive, but there have been notable “iron men” in other sports, too. In honor of Green’s record-breaking accomplishment 17 years ago, we took a look into the all-time record books to see which other athletes have set seemingly unbreakable marks for most consecutive games played. Of course, that list has to begin with …

MLB

Cal Ripken Jr. (above, left) is the iron man standard for all of sports, having played in 2,631 games in a row during his Hall of Fame career. Ripken famously broke Yankees legend Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played in September 1995, earning an ovation that lasted more than 22 minutes from a capacity crowd in Baltimore. Ripken’s 2,631 consecutive games equals more than 16 seasons of 162 games strung together, a feat that may never be equaled or topped. As you can see in the image above, Ripken was on hand in Dallas to recognize fellow iron man A.C. Green’s accomplishment on November 20, 1997.

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NHL

The longest consecutive games streak in NHL history belongs to Doug Jarvis. Jarvis, now a Boston Bruins assistant coach, never missed a game in his career and participated in 964 straight contests during 14 years with the Canadiens, Capitals, and Whalers. Jarvis, a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a player, broke hockey’s previous iron man record (then held by Garry Unger) in 1986.

NASCAR

NASCAR’s most consecutive races started record belongs to longtime driver Ricky Rudd, who took the wheel 788 times in a row. While Bobby Labonte fell short in his quest to top that number, snapping his string at 704 last year, another driver could pass Rudd before too long. Jeff Gordon has already passed the 750 consecutive-start plateau and is on pace to take over as NASCAR’s new iron man in 2015.

NFL

Punter Jeff Feagles has the record for most consecutive games played in professional football, kicking in all 16 games for each of his 22 years in the NFL. That gave Feagles a string of 352 appearances, best in the sport. However, it’s quarterback Brett Favre (pictured) whose string of starts gets more iron man credit, which seems fair, since punters don’t exactly take the same number of hits as other players on the field. Favre laced ‘em up 297 times in a row between 1992 and 2010, starring for the Packers, Jets, and Vikings over that span. While with Minnesota, he broke the (non-kicker) record, which happened to belong to another Viking, Jim Marshall. The former Minnesota defensive end played in 282 straight games, starting 270, during the ’60s and ’70s.