VIDEO – NFL All-Stars race Busch Gardens Cheetah in Nat Geo Wild’s Man V. Cheetah

Later this month, Nat Geo WILD will debut a never-before-seen race between two of the National Football League’s fastest athletes and nature’s fastest land mammal in the premiere of “Man v. Cheetah,” filmed at Busch Gardens Tampa. Premiering Friday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD, “Man v. Cheetah” will kick off the Fourth Annual Big Cat Week for Nat Geo WILD, the network’s most-watched week.

Running back Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Devin Hester raced two of Busch Gardens’ fastest cheetahs, Jenna and Nave, earlier this year in the park’s Cheetah Run habitat. For the challenge, Busch Gardens and Nat Geo WILD partnered to build a walled enclosure in Busch Gardens’ Cheetah habitat so the athletes and the cheetahs could run side-by-side safely.

According to NFL records, Chris Johnson is considered the fastest player in the NFL and Devin Hester holds the league’s all-time record for most kicks and punts returned for touchdowns.

During the race, park guests watched as the cheetahs dashed across their 220-foot sprint path for the race. The NFL athletes ran two different exercises on the other side of the safety wall. Johnson’s challenge was based on shear speed and included a back-and-forth stretch on the sprint path. Hester’s challenge highlighted his agility and required him and his cheetah competitor to run four lengths of the sprint, changing direction three times.



Clint Gamache started Thrillgeek back in 2013 to share his love of theme parks, pop culture and other geeky stuff with the world. He can be found on Twitter @iamcgeed