The Atlanta Falcons have won plenty of games this year, but on Tuesday they set a record that had nothing to do with on-field performance. It was a record that would make Jane Fonda proud: They helped organize and host the largest physical education class in history.
According to a host of sources -- the Falcons themselves not least among them -- the Falcons brought in some 2,300 area students from elementary and middle schools to participate in an on-field workout at the Georgia Dome. Though the number of students was above 2,300 at the start of the workout, the Guiness Book of World Records will officially credit the Falcons with hosting 2,288 participants because some who started the workout couldn't finish it.
A handful of Falcons were also there to help teach the exercising pre-teens in some of the workouts, which were led by a taped fitness instructor on the stadium's jumbotron and video boards along the Georgia Dome's sides. You can actually see an example of the first portion of the video below, just as the team encouraged other students to participate remotely by following a live webcast of the workout videos.
The massive stunt was the team's latest organized effort to bring attention to the NFL's movement to combat youth obesity, and it smashed the previous record for largest organized physical education class. That prior mark had been set earlier this year by the Washington Redskins, who led some 600 students in large group exercises. Anyone else wonder if seeing the Falcons' success will inspire Redskins megalomaniacal owner Dan Snyder to try and round up all the middle school students in the metro D.C. area and truck them out to FedEx Field for a workout?
"It was fun to see the kids smiling, and it's a good thing to teach the kids that working out can be fun and it makes you feel better as a person," Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas told the team's website. "It was a good experience."
Whether you like the Falcons or hate them, it was a nice gesture and strong effort to pull in that many students, even if some of them couldn't finish a rather basic 30-minute workout.
"We recognize that our players and cheerleaders have significant influence in changing behaviors that lead to childhood obesity," Falcons president Rich McKay told the team's website. "We look forward to continuing our fight of moving kids from sedentary lifestyles to active ones."