Mike Drummond May Have Been Correct Last Night


Very interesting!

Today on Twitter, Steve Bahnaman pointed out an issue with last night’s Final (see the bottom of the post):

Remember, the wording of last night’s Final Jeopardy! was:

A 1957 event led to the creation of a Natl. Historic Site in this city, signed into law by a pres. whose library is now there too

It could certainly be said that the founding of the SCLC in 1957 (especially its meeting in Atlanta in January of that year) was instrumental of the designation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site — in Atlanta — which was officially designated as a National Historic Site in October 1980 (as per page 8 of this document). Carter was President at that point, and his library is located in Atlanta.

I think Steve has a very good point here. Should Mike be invited back?

Steve’s tweet:


8 Comments on "Mike Drummond May Have Been Correct Last Night"

  1. Yes, Mike should be invited back! Even though I thought it was Littlerock, I could see how this could be misleading. Jeopardy has given credit back to contestants for much less of an error.

    • I think they probably should, and if the clue were in-game instead of Final they probably would have announced a score correction at the next break.

      But since it’s Final Jeopardy, they generally require a higher degree of certainty than “My answer is arguably correct” to bring a contestant back.

      The closest parallel to this clue, to my mind, is this one:


      “Ode to Joy” is arguably correct, but there is a way to construe the clue that makes it wrong. And much as many of us thought it was a terrible call at the time, it was the call they made, and it was the call they stood by when Ellyn appealed.

      In Mike’s case, Atlanta is arguably correct. There is a historically-significant moment that took place on that site in the year named in the clue. But that said, the site was also MLK’s birthplace, an event which happened in 1929. And there are a lot of cities associated with Dr. King’s work as an adult (Montgomery, Birmingham, Washington DC, Memphis, etc.).

      So the question becomes: If the SCLC had been founded in Montgomery, or Richmond, or at Mother Emmanuel in Charleston, would that event by itself been enough to convince Congress and President Carter to name the building where the meeting took place a “National Historic Site?” And to be brought back, the burden of proof is on Mike to show conclusively that the answer is “Yes.”

      I don’t think he can prove that.

      I don’t think he should have to, but the precedent of the show places that burden on him if he wants to be brought back.

      • My feeling is that if this were appealed, TPTB rule that the event leading to the establishment of the MLK Jr. NHS was his birth in 1929, and thus deny the appeal. Personally, I would rule that “a 1957 event” could reference one of many events leading to the site’s creation, not all of which took place in 1957 – and thus grant the appeal.

        That gives rise to a secondary question – just what relief is Mike entitled to? Given that Claudia and Randi were not similarly disadvantaged by the clue, he unquestionably would have won the game had his response been ruled correct. Thus if you bring him back, would he also be entitled to full credit for a win and $27,600? (This could be totally out of left field – I have no idea what is the relevant “Trebekistanian law,” so to speak.)

        • Andy Saunders | January 19, 2016 at 6:24 pm |

          Be that as it may, it’s certainly worth a shot to have TPTB look at it (at least in my opinion).

          • Patrick Shaw | January 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm |


            My opinion has nothing to do with the fact that he was my best man and is a friend; instead it has everything to with justice!


            But after reading what the previous posters pointed out, I’d think he deserves to be brought back even if I didn’t know him.

  2. And it’s not just that Carter was President in Oct. 1980; he signed into law the legislation designating the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, so Atlanta fits that part of the clue as well. (Note that the National Historic Landmark status that was conferred on much of the same area in Atlanta in 1977 doesn’t fit the clue, as NHL’s are designated by the Secretary of the Interior rather than by Congressional legislation. National Historic Landmarks and National Historic Sites are 2 different things. But that distinction became academic when the area gained National Historic Site status just 3 years later.)

  3. Jonathan Graham | January 20, 2016 at 4:38 am |

    I think he should at least try to file a protest whatever the official way of doing so is. It seems like there have been a few misleading Final Jeopardy clues lately, and this should send a message to the writing clue that they need to not use such confusing language.

    • @Jonathan Graham: I don’t think this clue was misleadingly worded, so much as it had an alternate correct response that the writers didn’t anticipate (or at least they didn’t anticipate why Atlanta would end up fitting the clue). So it wasn’t like the recent Apollo 11 clue, for example.

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