'Jeopardy!' contestant ignores the Raptors to risk it all on the Minnesota Timberwolves, loses

This is a Toronto Raptor. (Getty Images)
This is a Toronto Raptor. (Getty Images)

There’s a reason ‘Sports Mascots’ would stand as a great final ‘Jeopardy!’ answer, because there are hundreds upon hundreds (even when sharing the same animal kingdom affiliation) of questions to choose from. What diminutive, crackling caricature in green might see its name mispronounced nighty? Which style of music, fashioned to great acclaim in New York, Kansas City and especially New Orleans, now plays nearly nightly in Salt Lake City? What is this unholy amalgamation of a “bear” and a “cat?”

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Even limiting the scope down to the NBA’s 30 teams still makes this a tough choice for the non-sports fan. Which is why, in a trivia competition that also includes wagering in its final rounds, one must make a demarcation point between acknowledging that you either kind of know sports, or that you know enough about sports to risk $17,200 on a sports question.

This contestant, clearly, had a question worth questioning:

(Hat-tip: Washington Post.)

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Raptors. It was the Toronto Raptors. Dinosaurs are extinct. You don’t have to remember when the dinosaurs died out, just as you probably don’t need to know when Epcot Centre debuted in Orlando or when the supersonic jet first came off the assembly line at Boeing or the Houston was attacked by rockets beamed in from Mizar-5, but a general idea should be enough.

All credit due to the contestant for getting to the final round, as a leader no less, but no credit for risking it all on an unsure answer. And demerits for thinking that the timber wolf, an active species only currently classified as “threatened,” peaked some 75 million years ago. Not a lot of recognizable things, much less sports mascots, died 75 million years ago!

What national TV pressure does to the brain. My goodness.

This is a timber wolf? (Getty Images)
This is a timber wolf? (Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been around since the 1989-90 season, whereas the Toronto Raptors have only been in place since 1995-96. Worse, the Raps work a good 931 miles farther East from Minneapolis. Scores farther away from the Burbank, Calif. studios that have brought you entertaining and cultured ‘Jeopardy!’ programming since 1964.

(We fawn, because we’re using a YouTube clip and we don’t want to run afoul of Merv Griffin Enterprises. Again.)

Raptor fans can compose themselves at the reminder of the knowledge that the team will be in the postseason for the fourth consecutive year, while the Minnesota Timberwolves’ last and best playoff run peaked about 75 million years ago came in 2004.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!