American Football which is more commonly referred to as football in North America and Canada is a sport in which two teams of eleven players play on a rectangular field and need to advance the ball up the field by either passing or running.
The offense has for plays to cover 10 yards or it is a turnover and the defence takes control of the ball
Points are scored when you manage to advance into the other team’s end zone for a touchdown or by kicking it through the goalpost for a field goal.
Occasionally the ball may be referred to as pigskin as the ball was once covered with a pig’s bladder.
The ball takes up a shape that differs from the rugby ball which is slightly more round in comparison to the American football that is pointed at the ends.
The ball has a leather exterior and is 11 inches (28 cm) long and about 22 inches (56 cm) in circumference at the centre.
The leather is then tanned to a natural brown colour and also stamped with a texture that allows the players to grip the ball easier. This texture is known as “Pebble Grain”.
To make each football you will need four panels of leather. No manufacturing is allowed to take place until quality control checks have been completed to assure it is of the right weight and also to check for blemishes.
Two of the leather panels then have a hole placed on the neighbouring edges so that they can be laced together. One of these panels than gets another hole placed in the centre so that it can hold the inflation valve.
All four panels are attached to an internal lining, before they are stitched together with the “inside-out” method. The edges that were perforated for lacing, are not stitched together, the ball is then turned out to the right side by pushing the leather panels through the lacing hole.
A rubber lining made of the polymer polyurethane which is called a bladder is then inserted through the lacing hole.
Polyvinyl chloride or leather laces are then inserted through the holes that were made earlier to provide grip for all the actions involved in American football, including hiking, passing and running with the football.
The ball cannot be used for play unless
- it is inflated to an air pressure of 12.5–13.5 psi (86–93 kPa).
- The weight of the ball is 14–15 ounces (397–425 g).
nfl.com the official football league website states:
The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter "k" and used exclusively for the kicking game.
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