Washington, DC— As thousands of loyal fans prepare to descend upon their favorite stadiums and sports bars to catch the first glimpse of football action this week, many of them may be shocked to learn that according to the federal government, many of the NFL’s stars have lost the battle of the bulge. Inevitably, this year’s Super Bowl champions may have to can the trip to Disneyworld and book a stay at the fat farm.

Using a standard called the Body Mass Index (BMI), the federal government places these fine-tuned athletes in the official “fatties” category by taking only height and weight (not muscle mass) into consideration. A BMI over 25 is “overweight” and one higher than 30 is “obese.” So at 6’ and 203 pounds, rookie sensation Reggie Bush of the Saints tips the BMI scale at 27. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb takes the prize at 6’2”, 240 pounds. Those stats give the pro-bowler a BMI of 31, earning him the title of “obese.”

Aside from their pigskin-tossing prowess, quarterbacks Tom Brady of the Patriots and Brett Favre of the Packers also share XXL waistlines, according to the flawed government standards. Using the BMI, these grade-A athletes are “grade-A” fatties. Even controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens of the Cowboys—known for his physical talent and bad attitude—can’t get his agent to talk him out of the overweight category. T.O. weighs in with a BMI of almost 28! Apparently T.O. stands for Totally Overweight?

These NFL stars, and many ordinary Americans, have fallen victim to the BMI Index, which is the same measure used by the government to claim that 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. In 1998 the U.S. government changed the standard by which overweight is measured. As a result, more than 30 million Americans were shifted from a government-approved weight to the overweight category—over night!

“Adding top-performing athletes to the number of overweight Americans further inflates already overblown statistics behind the so-called obesity epidemic,” said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom. “If Terrell Owens is fat, then I’m William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry.”