Our loyal readers are probably more aware of who Takeru Kobayashi – the infamously voracious Japanese competitive eater – is than the New York Cosmos professional soccer team, but it looks like the Cosmos players weren’t so familiar with the diminutive athlete… Until now.

As part of an elaborate April Fool’s joke, New York Cosmos managers put together a stunt that saw Kobayashi posing as an employee at the frankly quite delicious Buffalo Wild Wings chicken wing chain as the Cosmos team filtered into the restaurant for a meal.

The apparently easily-duped team didn’t seem to see anything amiss when the store’s manager – on April 1, mind you – randomly offered to pay for their meal if their best eater could down more wings than their new employee “Kevin” (actually Kobayashi). Pro tip: It’s really better to just stay at home and avoid all human contact on April Fool’s Day.

Athletes of all stripes generally being, by necessity, big eaters, the team was unsurprisingly up for the challenge. Things start off pretty mildly, as Kobayashi holds off on breaking character for the first minute or so of the contest. Honestly, I had a feeling the team was in on the whole stunt until I saw the look of genuine incredulity on team forward Perica Marošević’s face about a minute and a half into the contest when Kobayashi starts going all out:

ScreenHunter_226 Apr. 03 16.21

This being the land of Epic Meal Time (okay, they’re Canadian, but close enough…), I still held out a little hope that the American Marošević could pull through in the end, or at least ensure a less-than-shameful defeat, but the final tally came out to an astonishing 58 wings for Kobayashi to Marošević’s really rather pitiful 18.

We suppose now would be a good time to mention that Kobayashi is actually the current wing eating record holder, having consumed 337 of them over a 30 minute period at the 20th Annual Wing Bowl in 2012, so we presume Kobayashi was being a good sport and going easy on poor Marošević.

Check out the whole video here:

[ Read in Japanese ]