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NFL Experience proves reporter's extreme lack of athletic skill



HOUSTON – Kick a field goal.

Catch a slant pass.

Run an obstacle course.

I can do none of these things, as it turns out.

A visit to the NFL Experience a few hours after it opened this week at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston proved my severe ineptitude at athleticism (so much for those four-days-a-week gym visits).

You can watch the clumsiness for yourselves in the video below.

I should have plopped myself in the station where NFL Experience-goers were battling it out over “Madden NFL 17” – THAT, I used to be good at – or hung out at the Bud Light Bar.

I didn’t even attempt to throw a Hail Mary pass like Aaron Rodgers or hit a bullseye with a football as I’m sure Matt Ryan can do backward and upside down. Nor did I venture into the area where you can pull a muscle trying to make a vertical jump (I’m short- not happening) or run the 40-yard dash (too many icky memories of uncomfortable shorts in P.E. classes).

The best part about our visit – aside from getting a close-up look at the Lombardi trophy – was meeting a couple of Atlanta Falcons fans waiting in line to also attempt a field goal kick.

Lanetta Thornton and her husband Taylor decided during the third quarter of the Falcons/Packers game (aka the NFC Championship) that they were going to head to Houston to cheer on the home team.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Taylor said. “Today I turn 52 and the franchise has been there 51 years. We’ve been right there with each other.”

The couple plans to return to Atlanta Friday – unless they can find a reasonably priced pair of tickets for Sunday’s game.

Oh, and as for those field goal attempts – Lanetta and I were in the same head-shaking territory (but she was wearing cowboy boots, a hindrance I did not have as an excuse). But Taylor? He smacked one right through the uprights.

Happy birthday, indeed.

The NFL Experience is open through Feb. 5. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 children 12 and under and $55 for the NFLXtra Fast Pass. For advance ticket purchases, visit, or call 1-866- 849-4635. Tickets can also be purchased at the box office two hours prior to doors.

Video by Ryon Horne, who can now blackmail me forever.

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on