It’s not easy to do, but sometimes an athlete or sports team is so hot that they accomplish an unbelievable performance or they have such longevity that an unbreakable steak happens. Here are some of the most long-lasting streaks in sports history.
Back-to-back NBA titles: 8
The Celtics were unstoppable from 1959 to 1966. During that period, the team won eight consecutive NBA championships. Hall of Famer Bill Russell led the team during this time. (He ultimately won 11 titles during his legendary career.) With the advent of so-called “superteams” via free agency, no NBA team will likely come close to the Celtics’ streak.
Consecutive PGA Tour victories: 11
There is such tough competition on the PGA Tour nowadays that it’s tough to win back-to-back tournaments. It’s safe to say no one will ever break the consecutive-wins record set by Byron Nelson. In 1945, he won 18 of 35 tournaments, which included a streak of 11 straight titles.
Tiger Woods, who may be the best golfer of all time, has had a streak of seven straight tournament victories — still four shy of Nelson’s wins. Other than Woods, no one has even won more than four consecutive tournaments since Ben Hogan in 1953.
Consecutive NFL starts: 297
Brett Favre made his first career start for the Packers on September 27, 1992, beating the Steelers 17-3. He went on to start every Packers’ game until he left the team following the 2007 season. Then, the quarterback joined the Jets and started all of their games in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, he did the same for the Vikings until a shoulder injury caused him to miss their Week 14 game against the Giants.
In all, Favre made 297 consecutive starts (321 including the playoffs) — a record for any position. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is the active leader with 208 straight starts. However, at 37 years old, Rivers likely won’t play long enough to match Favre’s streak.
Continuous MLB games with a hit: 56
In 1941, Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio got a hit in 56 consecutive games, smashing the record of 45 set by Willie Keeler in 1896-97. Since DiMaggio set his mark 78 years ago, no one has gotten close to his 56-game streak except for hit king Pete Rose, who hit safely in 44 straight in 1978.
The longest hitting streak of this century is 38 games, which Jimmy Rollins did in 2005-06. With starters pitching fewer innings and teams increasingly using specialty relievers, it will only get harder for players to have lengthy hitting streaks. DiMaggio’s record is likely untouchable.
Consecutive MLB starts: 2,632
If Favre is the NFL’s iron man, Cal Ripken Jr. is the iron man of baseball. He played in more than 3,000 games in his major league career, including an unbelievable 2,632 consecutive starts. His streak began on May 30, 1982, and he grinded through more than 16 seasons before ending his streak on September 19, 1998.
The previous record was 2,130 games set by Lou Gehrig, which Ripken surpassed on September 6, 1995. The way baseball is played now, it is rare for a player to start in all 162 games of a season. No one will come close to Ripken’s record streak — or Gehrig’s, for that matter.