Speedrunning may have just had its 1958 NFL Championship moment. That is, this could be the debut of the next great telegenic sport, to a huge viewership at a time when the world is waiting to see something new and dazzling. It came last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and, just like the Giants and Colts 58 years ago, this spectacle was televised by CBS.
This is Mitch Fowler, aka MitchFlowerPower, the world record holder for the fastest run through Super Mario Bros. 3, all comers and no holds barred. He is matched here against an NCAA Division I track team running the mile relay — and Stephen Colbert microwaving and eating a Hot Pocket.
You'd be forgiven for thinking Colbert threw his leg of the competition, after setting the microwave's timer and forgetting to hit start (and also manually rotating the food), then dropping his meal repeatedly while burning the roof of his mouth. Ian Eagle, play-by-play man for CBS's No. 2 NFL national broadcast team, also seems unusually well prepared for two sports outside his expertise.
But Columbia's 4x400 relay team is truly hauling ass. And Fowler is up against the technical requirements of triggering a glitch to get to the end of his run at Super Mario Bros. 3. In the end, Colbert's winning time of 3:12.4 on the Hot Pocket is still four seconds worse than Fowler's all-time best 3:08 at Super Mario Bros. 3. But both are still better than the Columbia men's best 4x400 time this past season, a 3:13:69 run outdoor at the Ivy League Championships May 9 at Penn.
So, the match race may not have worked out here for Fowler but, on a neutral field, we know he's really the best.