Four Rule Changes for the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

2021 Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest
2021 Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest / Bobby Bank/GettyImages

The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place on July 4th for (approximately) the 50th consecutive year. It will also be the 20th consecutive contest broadcast by ESPN. With all those milestones colliding, hopefully America's only true hero, Joey Chestnut, has something special prepared for fans.

After winning 14 of the last 15 contests, all Chestnut has to do is devour 77 hot dogs to break his own record from last year. Here's a helpful chart showing just how far hot dog eating technology has come since Kazutoyo Aria consumed 25 hot dogs in the year 2000.

A bar graph showing the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest record growing from 25 to 77 over the last two decades.

Yes, we've more than tripled the human body's capacity for hot dogs in about two decades. Begging the question: have we gone too far, too fast? Perhaps our competitive eaters were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. So here are four possible rule changes that could de-revolutionize the way competitive hot dog eaters eat hot dogs.

Keep the Hot Dog a Hot Dog

The Offspring may have a problem with this, but we don't. Adults eat the hot dog and bun together. The contest should resemble real-life hot dog eating. So no removing the dogs from the buns. No tearing apart like you're feeding the seagulls on the boardwalk. Act like you're at a holiday cookout and eat accordingly. (Suggested by @whoisscottyj, @miggiesmalls, @kleshreen)

Dip the Dogs in Condiments, Not Water

Speaking of unnatural eating habits, no one dips anything in water before they eat it. It only makes this disgusting event look even more disgusting. If you need to dip it in something, use ketchup or mustard. (Suggested by @thatmarkmiller, @lebatardshowfan, @ihatenashville, @ethanfaulkner,

Reverse Money Ball Dogs

Look, we all love watching people eat plain hot dogs, but variety is the spice of life. What if we threw in a dog with some diced ghost peppers? Or a corndog that exposes eaters to a completely different texture. Or just go down the line and throw on chili and onions and every other thing from the bar? Think of these as bonus hot dogs. Or like money balls in the three-point contest. Hell, enough ghost peppers and they might be neon green. If not going down, then coming back up. (Suggestions by @ericlloyd, @kpowders51, @flg8r22, @kurtjustkurt)

Slow Down

You know how the contestants rush to eat as many hot dogs as they possible can? What if they didn't? It's a beautiful summer day on Coney Island. It's a three day weekend and everyone is dancing and happy. Nobody can dance or feel particularly good after consuming a few dozen hot dogs in 10 minutes. So let's just slow down and enjoy a few dogs, chewed slowly and responsibly. Don't forget, kids are watching. (@onehappyst, @spencerham)