Phil Kessel joins Ripken, Favre and other ironman athletes

Cal Ripken and A.C. Green hold historic streaks for consecutive games played. Paul K. BuckAFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Vegas Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel will set the NHL record for consecutive games played at 990. He joins a who's who of athletes who are known for their longevity.

The 35-year-old Kessel, who will surpass Keith Yandle, has played for five teams in his 16-year NHL career. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here are the players who own the ironperson moniker across sports.


Ironman: Cal Ripken Jr.

Streak: 2,632 games played

Who he surpassed: Lou Gehrig (2,130 games)

Ripken's pursuit of Gehrig's mark is considered the gold standard for these records because it required Ripken to never take a day off for long travel, or for a day game after a night game or, you know, just to take a break. Ripken, who played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, played over 8,200 innings.

A person born the day the streak began in 1982 could have been a licensed driver in most states when it ended in 1998.

Anyone close? Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson has played in 296 consecutive games. Last season, he was one of only two players who played in all 162 games of the regular season.


Ironman: A.C. Green

Streak: 1,192 games played

Who he surpassed: Randy Smith (906 games)

With the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, Green was the team's top rebounder -- leading the Lakers in boards for six of his eight seasons in L.A. He won three NBA championships with the Lakers and also played for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

Green's streak, which began in 1986 and lasted until 2001, spanned parts of four different presidential administrations.

Anyone close? Mikal Bridges, the 26-year-old small forward, is about 800 games behind Green. In an era when NBA players have planned time off, Green's streak might stand awhile.


Ironwoman: A'ja Wilson

Streak: 98 games and counting

Wilson has played pretty much nonstop since entering the league with the Las Vegas Aces in 2018. In that time she has won two MVPs, played in four WNBA All-Star Games and won the 2022 WNBA title.

That number counts only WNBA games. Wilson played one season with the Shaanxi (China) Red Wolves. She also played in two FIBA World Cups and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, winning gold medals in all three events.


Ironman: Brett Favre

Streak: 299 games and 297 consecutive starts.

Punter Jeff Feagles has played in more games (352), but Favre is recognized as the NFL's ironman. Favre, who made starts with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, is one of four QBs to have started 200 or more consecutive games.

Within the 297 starts, Favre played with a variety of injuries, such as shoulder separations, sprained ankles, tendonitis and broken bones. He kept the streak alive by playing one day after his father died. In that game, he threw four touchdown passes in the first half.

Anyone close? This record is one of the few for QBs not owned by Tom Brady. However, Brady is the active leader for consecutive QB starts at 93. For non-quarterbacks, long snapper JJ Jansen, who is 36-years-old, has played in 216 consecutive games.