Ever wondered about the nitty-gritty of the footballs used in the big Super Bowl game? Let’s dive into the details and explore the fascinating world of these game-changing pigskin alternatives.
The Evolution of Football Material:
Back in the 1850s, footballs were made from a pig bladder, making them, well, a pork product. Imagine playing with a ball inflated by mouth – sounds a bit strange, right? The pig bladders had issues, though, leaking and tearing easily, leading to the introduction of less leaky rubber bladders. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from pork, and today’s footballs are constructed from cowhide, avoiding the awkward thought of playing with something that might taste like a toilet.
Having a Beef with Pig Bladders:
The switch from pig to cowhide wasn’t just about taste; it was practical. Pig bladders were too fragile, often requiring stuffing with straw to stay intact. The transition to beefier cowhide meant more durable footballs that could withstand the rough and tumble of the game without constant interruptions for straw stuffing. It’s safe to say that the NFL made a wise choice in upgrading their playthings.
The Super Bowl Football Frenzy:
Since 1941, Wilson Sporting Goods has been the official supplier of NFL footballs. Wilson manufactures a whopping 700,000 footballs each year, supplying around 780 game balls to each NFL team, totaling almost 25,000 balls for an entire season. During the regular season, teams bring 24 balls to each game – 12 primary and 12 backup. However, when the Super Bowl rolls around, the number jumps to 54.
Quality Check Before the Kickoff:
Before every game, including the grand Super Bowl, designated officials inspect the footballs. They ensure the balls fall within the accepted PSI range (12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch) and don’t have any disqualifying characteristics. Interestingly, the NFL estimates that around seven to 10 balls are typically discarded before the Super Bowl, perhaps leaving us to wonder if they get a farewell with faces drawn on them.
So, next time you’re cheering on your favorite team during the Super Bowl, take a moment to appreciate the journey of the footballs. From pig bladders to cowhide, these game balls have come a long way. With Wilson Sporting Goods in the spotlight, providing sturdy footballs for every thrilling touchdown, the Super Bowl continues to be an event where the game is as fascinating as the balls that make it all possible.