How are Footballs Made?


By: Sophia Mapou, Journalist

Almost everyone knows what a football is but not many people know the process that goes on behind making them. There are approximately 25 steps that go into making every NFL football and each takes almost 3 days to complete. The size and weight of the football have been the same ever since the very first Super Bowl. Every football is 71 centimeters long, 55 centimeters wide in the middle, and weighs roughly 425 grams.

To start, 4 panels are made for each football. There are 2 panels made for each side. The panels are generally made with water proof leather because it has been proven to stay in the best condition over long periods of time. A stamping machine will then print the company’s logo over the skin of one panel. In order for the skin to be strengthened, cotton and vinyl linings are sewn onto all for panels. Then, they are all placed in a machine that positions them so they can get more markings on them. The top and bottom sections then have to be sewn together and put under a press so a hole can be made for the air valve.

Over 250 stitches are used to fully sew a football together. Once it is fully sewn, the football is put into a concave press which smoothens the seams at the end of each tip. This helps keep the ball as flattened as possible when being inflated. After the ball has been inflated, an awl is used to thread a white lace through the tiny holes on the side. The lace is woven through the holes creating one thick line going down the center of the side. The same process happens for the smaller lines that go horizontally through the center line.

When the football has to be temporarily overinflated, it can cause them to lose their shape. In order to prevent this from happening, they are placed in steel molds to make sure they maintain their shape. Now after these steps have been finished, the footballs have to be tested to make sure they pass all the requirements. One of the requirements is they must weigh 15 ounces or less. After all these steps have been completed in the correct way, the football is ready to be brought onto the field.