Is Dude Perfect fake?

If you've never heard of Dude Perfect, you might think it was a rejected WWE persona, or maybe a Chippendales-style attraction in Atlantic City. But it's actually a group of guys from Texas who would destroy you in a game of H-O-R-S-E. In other words: they've perfected the art of the trick shot. We're not just talking about hitting a shot from half-court, or swishing a jumper from the third row of the bleachers. No, the Dude Perfect guys come up with such ridiculous, difficult, insane shots, it's almost impossible to fathom they could be real. Of course that leads us to the obvious question: is it real? Or are the guys from Dude Perfect just really, really good with special effects? Let's investigate:

In the beginning...

While it's easy to kind of dismiss the Dude Perfect guys as a bunch of overgrown Dude Bros (and really, if you're over 30 and still call people "bro," then you'd better be Hulk Hogan, because otherwise you're asking for a smack), the group exploded onto the internet with good intentions. The very first video of theirs that took the world by storm was filmed back in 2009, with a pledge to sponsor a child through Compassion International for every 100,000 views their trick shot video garnered.

The video quality in that first little highlight reel of trick shots is grainy enough to make any fakery seem at least a little farfetched, but more than that, you'd like to believe that a bunch of guys trying to raise awareness and support a good cause are going to be on the level. To date, the video is closing in on 18 million views. That's a lot of little dudes being sponsored thanks to some overgrown frat boys with a video camera and way too much time on their hands.

Johnny Football and the shot seen 'round the world

The Dude Perfect guys attended Texas A&M University, and one of their early, most famous videos included them sinking a shot from the top of the school's football stadium down into a basket at field level. Around the same time Dude Perfect was breaking onto the scene, Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) was capturing a Heisman trophy as the quarterback for Texas A&M, shortly before heading to the NFL and subsequently becoming a walking disaster.

Manziel joined forces with Dude Perfect for a video that's since become a viral mega-hit, as he and the trick shot experts go toe to toe. But it's that original shot at A&M's stadium that was put under intense scrutiny. Amazingly, and a little surprisingly, experts in computer editing couldn't find a single shred of evidence that the video had been tampered with or manipulated in any way.

Pros vs. Joes

One of the biggest points in Dude Perfect's favor, in terms of adding some legitimacy to their craft, is how willing professional athletes have been to join them in their videos. Now, obviously big-time athletes — like Johnny Manziel, or in the video above, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — are certainly going to enjoy any environment where their prowess can be not only put on display, but maybe exaggerated a little bit.

But let's take Rodgers, in particular. It's hard to imagine any of his shots are fake, simply because he has one of the best, strongest, and most accurate arms in NFL history. Attracting a player of his stature and getting him to participate certainly lends credibility. Sure, it'd be easy to assume the Dude Perfect guys are faking it. But what sports fan would begin to accuse Aaron Rodgers of being ridiculously accurate and adept at pulling off trick throws of the football? Other than Brett Favre, we mean.

They're not alone

One of the things that might add more legitimacy to the insane tricks Dude Perfect manages to pull off is how, at the end of the day, they're not the only ones doing it. They're just the most high profile (by a very, very, absurdly wide margin). But anyone who has ever played H-O-R-S-E knows that if you attempt a stupid shot enough times, you're probably going to make it eventually. It's just a matter of filming every … single … attempt.

Check out the above video of Alex Tanney, a journeyman backup quarterback who's bounced around the NFL for years, but has only thrown 14 career passes. His accuracy became legendary with his trick shot video, to the point where he was featured in a History Channel show called Stan Lee's Superhumans. Yes, there are people out there so good at throwing a football, Stan Lee basically anoints them as being super-powered. If Alex Tanney can make some of those incredible throws, then obviously someone like Aaron Rodgers — and even the Dude Perfect guys — should eventually be able to as well.

Science is on their side

So many people being able able to pull off trick shots hasn't stopped people from doubting how legitimate the Dude Perfect guys really are, of course. That's probably because the Dude Perfect crew keeps upping the ante, and so do the other trick shot masters from around the internet. Take the guys from Legendary Shots, for instance. They're not as well known as Dude Perfect, but still have over a quarter-million subscribers on YouTube. Their most famous shot is the one above, taken from the top of the Vulcan Monument in Birmingham, Alabama. The shot seemed so impossible and unfathomable, a science blog took a deep dive into the physics necessary to pull it off, and came away with the conclusion that … it was almost certainly not just doable, but had been done.

As noted by the writer — whose work, if we're being honest, gives us headaches because we came to enjoy trick shots, not mathematical equations — pulling off such a shot would undoubtedly need perfect conditions and numerous attempts. But this shot, and others like it, can — and have — been made.

Or is it?

Still, not everyone is convinced Dude Perfect's shots are legitimate. Earlier this year, they released the above video, in which a basketball is shot from the top of a skyscraper, down to a basket on the street below. Unlike the science above supporting shots like this, some have taken to the internet to argue that science suggests such a shot is impossible.

To summarize the eggheady argument being made within that link: terminal velocity renders a shot like the one above impossible, meaning video trickery must have been used. Basically, by the end of this 533-foot shot from atop an Oklahoma City skyscraper, the combination of speed and the weight of the ball should have made the impact far more than a portable basketball hoop can handle. Since the shot wasn't a perfect swish, when the ball hits the rim it should do vastly more damage to the hoop than simply rattling around a little bit.

The more dangerous, the more doubtful

As Dude Perfect continues to up the ante with their trick shots, they've gone beyond just throwing a football or sinking a basket. One of the more recent trick shots they've (dude) perfected involves a bow and arrow. Considering how insanely dangerous such a trick is, some are questioning whether or not there's any way it could be real. If it is, it means the Dude Perfect guys aren't just great with a basketball, but could also out-shoot both Oliver Queen and Hawkeye in an archery competition.

Not only that, but as you'll notice in the video above, the speed with which the crew pulls off nine consecutive trick shots, in seemingly one single, take make it hard to fathom there's no fakery or editing being done. There's being really, really good at pulling off trick shots, and then there's being real-life Deadshot. And we're going to go ahead and guess none of the Dude Perfect guys is likely to be played by Will Smith anytime soon.

They're used to the scrutiny

Since blowing up to become one of the most famous sports-related groups on the internet, Dude Perfect has certainly been the subject of intense scrutiny. Hell, you're reading even more of that scrutiny right here. And that scrutiny has even gone national, with ABC News going so far as to feature them on Nightline in hopes of figuring out how they pull off their insane trick shots, or else how they do such a flawless job of faking it. They've also been featured on Good Morning America, with questions being raised about whether or not they're real. That was back in 2009, when their first video went viral, so right from the jump, they've found themselves being questioned.

So far, they've held up astoundingly well to the scrutiny, with the folks on GMA doing a bad job of both debunking them and knowing the first thing about sports or what the internet buzzwords of the time were. What we're saying here is that GMA is basically your grandmother who tries really hard to get your interests, but it's just not happening.

The internet can't agree

No matter how many people come out and say that Dude Perfect is real, there are people who continue to call their videos faker than Courtney Stodden's … well, everything. People have taken to YouTube to create their own videos calling out Dude Perfect as a bunch of charlatans, breaking down their shots like the freaking Zapruder film and saying that if you look closely, blink twice, do a somersault, chug a gallon of milk, and recite the Gettysburg Address in the ancient tongue of the Elder Gods, you can see the ball vanish, indicating computer editing is being utilized.

Meanwhile, a YouTube channel called Is It Real has gone in the other direction, breaking down the group's videos without taking a side. Their intent is just to figure out — as the name implies — whether or not these shots are real. Their conclusion? It'd probably be easier to actually do the trick shots than perfecting them through the amount of intense editing that'd be needed to make them look legit.

The final verdict

So, is Dude Perfect fake? Obviously, different people are going to come to different conclusions. Certainly, it's awfully hard to believe the vast majority of what these guys pull off is feasible without their being named Jean Grey. The amount of time you'd need to spend on every single one of these shots, and the number of attempts you'd need to commit to trying, is beyond our comprehension. If it's real, you have to imagine that some of the trick shots take hours upon hours to get exactly right, but time isn't exactly an issue, because it's not keeping them from a day job. These dumb stunts are their day job. They're like the guys from Jackass, only Dude Perfect is cleaner and more family friendly. Also, endlessly more punchable.

But we have to admit, real or fake, they do manage to put out some ridiculously creative and cool trick shot videos. Whether or not any of those trick shots are fake is something we may never actually know. And since this question drives the public to watch their videos over and over, studying every frame while increasing their view count significantly, we're guessing the Dude Perfect bros like it that way.