Which pro sport could the average fan last the longest in?

How long could you fake it as a pro athlete until people realized you were a phony?

A few plays? A quarter? Zero minutes whatsoever?

This is the important hypothetical du jour: figuring out which professional sport the average, unexceptional sports fan could fudge the longest without anyone knowing they are, in fact, a talentless fraud. Some factors we’re taking into consideration:

The following are some sports I’ve taken into consideration and the unique advantages and disadvantages they would present a humble, quasi-coordinated individual trying to hide within their ranks.

Some are possible. At least in theory. Others…you will be exterminated before anyone can ask questions.

The tricky thing about trying to play professional football for a non-genetically modified, responsibly-sourced human is the dying part. That is the chief concern.

Because 98 percent of time, you would perish instantly trying to play in an NFL football game. The grounds crew would have to broom the bigger pieces of you up and have ServPro come in later to get the tricky stuff.

But there is one shaft of light for the average, noodle-armed human in pro football: kickers and holders, baby.

If I’m trying to survive an NFL game unscathed and unnoticed, I’m going with placeholder. All you have to do is stand around, check Jalopnik and wonder if your lizards need a larger heat rock.

And if/when it comes time to actually placehold, you can just miss the snap and turtle. No one was expecting much, anyways.

Advantages: Highly specialized and (ideally) non-contact positions to hide in.

Disadvantages: Possibility of swift and audible death.

International pro soccer is an incredibly grueling trial of the human body’s limits. A full, 120-minute extra time match will search even the most measured veterans.

And I think you could probably game that ‘ish if you did it right.

Aesthetically, all you need to look like an international soccer star are skinny arms and a barber who wishes he was a painter. After that, you slide on the shin pads, take a stranger’s child for a walk and jog around mid-field until the game ends or an unacceptable amount of the stadium is on fire.

Just remember, if Michael Bradley can fake it for a decade, you’ve got one friendly in you.

Advantages: Exceptional stature not required.

Disadvantages: Weird, subjective rules like referees being free to interpret the very passage of time. 

This is it, right? The one sport with zero raw physical demands.  You can fake bowling. All you do is throw the ball at the pins.

But therein lies the problem—because you’re going to gutter your first one, and it won’t be long until your facade comes crumbling down in front of the packed crowd at Leisure Lanes in Albuquerque.

They knew you weren’t about nothing the moment you picked the pink ball, anyways.

Advantages: Moderate physical demands requiring the physique of a CiCi’s Pizza manager.

Disadvantages: Individual sport requiring a high level of skill you do not possess.

In some ways, golf is the most fake-able sport on the planet.

Eighty-five percent of golf is looking good and telling people about the storm on the radar. Looks like it’ll just miss us. How do you like that driving iron?

Of course, this portion is ruined by the remaining 15 percent: playing golf. And that is where a faker attempting to fudge his way to the cut on the PGA Tour gets caught up immediately. Because your tee-shot on One is going to trach a fan in the gallery, and you’ll be hard-pressed to hang around for the back nine after that.

Advantages: All body types welcome, a goofy hat carries you 90 percent of the way.

Disadvantages: Golf is hard.

Hear me out: theoretically, you could pass as a trained, UFC fighter for an entire match. THEORETICALLY.

All you have to do on your end is get several tribal tattoos, enter the ring and throw a single punch as hard as you can. 

You will miss hilariously, of course, but if you can just survive the spinning heel kick knockout that comes next, you will have lasted a professional mixed martial arts match with no one knowing the wiser.

Freak knockouts happen all the time in MMA, and as long as you live through it, you can  just shake your head and mutter "He got me" until the reporters leave. 

Advantages: Quick, labor un-intensive

Disadvantages: Having your head kicked into seven-layer dip.

In their heart of hearts, every pick-up ball champion believes he or she could get at least one bucket in an pro basketball ballgame if given enough chances. 

Almost all of these people are small and wrong, however, and would be found out the moment they described themselves as "a three-and-D type of guy."

Advantages: The point guard position means average-sized humans on an NBA court are not immediately considered police.

Disadvantages: Amost everyone you’re playing against is a large alien from another solar system.

Put on a uni, walk out in left field, bring reading material. This is the formula for getting through a Major League Baseball game–a sport that rewards athleticism and heroics but does not require it.

As Tom Selleck put it in the 1992 cinematic masterstroke Mr. Baseball: "We’re not athletes, we’re baseball players."

Advantages: Loose uniforms and lack of sport-specific body type makes camouflaging oneself a breeze.

Disadvantages: Off-chance you’ll have to do something, Potentially being teammates with Chris Sale.

You just turn turn left, right?

Advantages: You’ve driven a car before.

Disadvantages: You’ve never never driven a stock car before.


Dan is on Twitter. He could not fake it any of the time, really.