Peri Marosevic was set to eat his New York Cosmos teammates to a free lunch. Like Kobayashi.
And then he lost. Ironically to Kobayashi.
The reigning NASL champions easily landed the best April Fool's Day prank in the sports world on Tuesday with their ingenious video involving famous eating champion Kobayashi. The team went out for lunch at a Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesday but truthfully, they were set up for the prank weeks before at the start of preseason camp.
As Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover describes it, Director of Communications Jen Chang and head coach Giovanni Savarese had a part in setting the whole prank into play on the unsuspecting Marosevic, a midfielder who appeared for the U.S. in the 2009 U-20 World Cup.
“Jen Chang knew Kobayashi from some previous work before. He came to me and said 'I think we might be able to do something with him.' He's local to New York,” Stover told Yahoo Sports.
“So Jen reached out and he said 'Sure.' At first we weren't sure what we were going to do. Then the idea came up of turning it into a prank. His people liked the idea. Gio loved it. We had the kernel of the idea, how it would play out.”
Then the Cosmos creative agency got a hold of it and played it out to see how it would work then came back to the team with the concept. The groundwork was laid in Dubai during preseason.
“Peri is always talking about how he eats the most, and nobody contests it, so it was quietly building up. It fell into place,” Stover said. “The guys are always used to having cameras around them. It was easy to stage during lunch, so it was easy to pull off. It seemed normal to them.”
So on Tuesday, the unsuspecting team comes in for what they think is going to be a team lunch and maybe watch some New York Yankees opening day. Instead, they were set-up for an epic April Fool's Day gag. If Marosevic can beat out two staff members in an eating competition, then the manager at the Buffalo Wild Wings will let the team eat for free.
The best part is that Kobayashi, who plays a bus boy in the prank, doesn't start really eating until 90 seconds into the competition. Then Marosevic's face as he sees the eating champion stuffing boneless wings into his face is priceless.
“Peri is the perfect guy. He has so much life in the locker room, on the field,” Stover said. “Always has a smile on his face. We knew we'd get good video out of it. I didn't expect it to be that perfect.”
No word on if Marosevic lost his team that opportunity for a free lunch. We just hope for his sake that after downing all those boneless wings, that he didn't lose his lunch in another way.
Kristian R. Dyer contributes to Yahoo! Sports and the Shutdown Corner Blog. He can be followed @KristianRDyer.