Football (ball)

Last updated

A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play.

Contents

The first balls were made of natural materials, such as an inflated pig bladder, later put inside a leather cover, which has given rise to the American slang-term "pigskin". Modern balls are designed by teams of engineers to exacting specifications, with rubber or plastic bladders, and often with plastic covers. Various leagues and games use different balls, though they all have one of the following basic shapes:

  1. a sphere: used in association football and Gaelic football
  2. a prolate spheroid (elongated sphere)

The precise shape and construction of footballs is typically specified as part of the rules and regulations.

The oldest football still in existence, which is thought to have been made circa 1550, was discovered in the roof of Stirling Castle, Scotland, in 1981. [1] The ball is made of leather (possibly from a deer) and a pig's bladder. [2] It has a diameter of between 14–16 cm (5.5–6.3 in), weighs 125 g (4.4 oz) and is currently on display at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum [3] in Stirling.

Association football

Adidas Tricolore, the official ball for the 1998 World Cup 1998 - Tricolore (France) (4170715889).jpg
Adidas Tricolore, the official ball for the 1998 World Cup

Law 2 of the game specifies that the ball is an air-filled sphere with a circumference of 68–70 cm (27–28 in), a weight of 410–450 g (14–16 oz), inflated to a pressure of 0.6 to 1.1  atmospheres (60–111 kPa or 8.7–16.1 psi) "at sea level", and covered in leather or "other suitable material". [4] The weight specified for a ball is the dry weight, as older balls often became significantly heavier in the course of a match played in wet weather. There are a number of different types of football balls depending on the match and turf including: training footballs, match footballs, professional match footballs, beach footballs, street footballs, indoor footballs, turf balls, futsal footballs and mini/skills footballs. [5]

Most modern Association footballs are stitched from 32 panels of waterproofed leather or plastic: 12 regular pentagons and 20 regular hexagons. The 32-panel configuration is the spherical polyhedron corresponding to the truncated icosahedron; it is spherical because the faces bulge from the pressure of the air inside. The first 32-panel ball was marketed by Select in the 1950s in Denmark. This configuration became common throughout Continental Europe in the 1960s, and was publicised worldwide by the Adidas Telstar, the official ball of the 1970 World Cup. This design in often referenced when describing the truncated icosahedron Archimedean solid, carbon buckyballs, or the root structure of geodesic domes.

Gridiron football

American football ball Washington Redskins Football (1991.88.1).jpg
American football ball
Canadian football ball CFL football.jpg
Canadian football ball

In the United States and Canada, the term football usually refers to a ball made of cow hide leather, which is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation and in organized youth leagues may be made of rubber or plastic materials (the high school football rulebooks still allow the inexpensive all-rubber footballs, though they are less common than leather). Since 1941, Horween Leather Company has been the exclusive supplier of leather for National Football League footballs. [6] [7] [8] The arrangement was established by Arnold Horween, who had played and coached in the NFL. [9] Horween Leather Company also supplies leather to Spalding, supplier of balls to the Arena Football League. [10]

Leather panels are typically tanned to a natural brown color, which is usually required in professional leagues and collegiate play. At least one manufacturer[ citation needed ] uses leather that has been tanned to provide a "tacky" grip in dry or wet conditions. Historically, white footballs have been used in games played at night so that the ball can be seen more easily[ citation needed ] however, improved artificial lighting conditions have made this no longer necessary. At most levels of play (but not, notably, the NFL), white stripes are painted on each end of the ball, halfway around the circumference, to improve nighttime visibility and also to differentiate the college football from the pro football[ citation needed ]. However, the NFL once explored the usage of white-striped footballs – in Super Bowl VIII. [11]

In the CFL the stripes traverse the entire circumference of the ball. The UFL used a ball with lime-green stripes. The XFL of 2001 used a novel color pattern, a black ball with red curved lines in lieu of stripes, for its footballs; this design was redone in a tan and navy color scheme for the Arena Football League in 2003. A ball with red, white and blue panels was introduced in the American Indoor Football League in 2005 and used by its successors, as well as the Ultimate Indoor Football League of the early 2010s and the Can-Am Indoor Football League during its lone season in 2017. The XFL of 2020 uses standard brown but with X markings on each point instead of stripes.

Footballs used in gridiron-style games have prominent points on both ends. The shape is generally credited to official Hugh "Shorty" Ray, who introduced the new ball in 1934 as a way to make the forward pass more effective. [12]

Australian rules football

An Australian rules football by Sherrin Sherrin footy.jpg
An Australian rules football by Sherrin

The football used in Australian football is similar to a rugby ball but generally slightly smaller and more rounded at the ends, but more elongated in overall appearance, being longer by comparison with its width than a rugby ball. A regulation football is 720–730 millimetres (28–29 in) in circumference, and 545–555 mm (21.5–21.9 in) transverse circumference, and inflated to a pressure of 62–76 kPa (9.0–11.0 psi). In the AFL, the balls are red for day matches and yellow for night matches.

The first games of Australian football were played with a round ball, because balls of that shape were more readily available. In 1860, Australian football pioneer Tom Wills argued that the oval rugby ball travelled further in the air and made for a more exciting game. [13] It became customary in Australian football by the 1870s.

The Australian football ball was invented by T. W. Sherrin in 1880, after he was given a misshapen rugby ball to fix. Sherrin designed the ball with indented rather than pointy ends to give the ball a better bounce.

Australian football ball brands include Burley, Ross Faulkner, and Sherrin (the brand used by the Australian Football League).

Gaelic football

Gaelic football ball by O'Neills Gaelic football ball on pitch.jpg
Gaelic football ball by O'Neills

The game is played with a round leather football made of 18 stitched leather panels, similar in appearance to a traditional volleyball (but larger), with a circumference of 68–70 cm (27–28 in), weighing between 480–500 g (17–18 oz) when dry. [14] It may be kicked or hand passed. A hand pass is not a punch but rather a strike of the ball with the side of the closed fist, using the knuckle of the thumb.

Rugby football

Until 1870, rugby was played with a near spherical ball with an inner-tube made of a pig's bladder. In 1870 Richard Lindon and Bernardo Solano started making balls for Rugby school out of hand stitched, four-panel, leather casings and pigs' bladders. The rugby ball's distinctive shape is supposedly due to the pig's bladder, although early balls were more plum-shape than oval. The balls varied in size in the beginning depending upon how large the pig's bladder was. [15] Because of the pliability of rubber the shape gradually changed from a sphere to an egg. In 1892 the RFU endorsed ovalness as the compulsory shape. The gradual flattening of the ball continued over the years. [16] The introduction of synthetic footballs over the traditional leather balls, in both rugby codes, was originally governed by weather conditions. If the playing surface was wet, the synthetic ball was used, because it wouldn't absorb water and become heavy. Eventually, the leather balls were phased out completely.

Rugby league

Steeden football as used in rugby league Steedenfootball.jpg
Steeden football as used in rugby league

Rugby league is played with a prolate spheroid shaped football which is inflated with air. [17] A referee will stop play immediately if the ball does not meet the requirements of size and shape. [17] Traditionally made of brown leather, modern footballs are synthetic and manufactured in a variety of colours and patterns. Senior competitions should use light-coloured balls to allow spectators to see the ball more easily. [17] The football used in rugby league is known as "international size" or "size 5" and is approximately 27 cm (11 in) long and 60 cm (24 in) in circumference at its widest point. Smaller-sized balls are used for junior versions of the game, such as "Mini" and "Mod". A full size ball weighs between 383 and 440 g (13.5 and 15.5 oz). Rugby league footballs are slightly more pointed than rugby union footballs and larger than American footballs.

The Australasian National Rugby League and Super League use balls made by Steeden. Steeden is also sometimes used in Australia as a noun to describe the ball itself.

Rugby union

Gilbert rugby football as used in rugby union Rugbyball2.jpg
Gilbert rugby football as used in rugby union

The ball used in rugby union, usually referred to as a rugby ball, is a prolate spheroid essentially elliptical in profile. Traditionally made of brown leather, modern footballs are manufactured in a variety of colours and patterns. A regulation football is 28–30 cm (11–12 in) long and 58–62 cm (23–24 in) in circumference at its widest point. It weighs 410–460 g (14–16 oz) and is inflated to 65.7–68.8 kPa (9.5–10.0 psi). [18]

In 1980, leather-encased balls, which were prone to water-logging, were replaced with balls encased in synthetic waterproof materials. [16] The Gilbert Synergie was the match ball of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

See also

Bibliography

Footnotes

  1. "Scottish Cup – World's Oldest Football". Homecoming Scotland 2009. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  2. "Oldest football to take cup trip". BBC News. 25 April 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  3. "Collections – Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum". Smithartgallery.demon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  4. "Laws of the Game". FIFA. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  5. Soccer Balls, Soccer, 2013-10-14. Retrieved: 2013-10-14.
  6. "The NFL's centenarians". Profootballhof.com. 7 February 2010. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  7. Scott Oldham (October 2001). "Bombs Away". Popular Mechanics.
  8. John Maxymuk (2001). NFL Head Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary, 1920–2011. McFarland. ISBN   9780786465576.
  9. Barbara Rolek (27 October 2003). "Horween's leather bound by tradition". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  10. Horween Leather Company. encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  11. Kerry Byrne. "'The Duke' is back!" (subtitle - "The white stripes")". Coldhardfootballfacts.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2006.
  12. Seymour Smith (14 September 1966). "Pro Football To Honor Ray: Rules Advisor's Ideas Gave Game Needed Boost". The Sun (Baltimore). p. C4.
  13. Flanagan, Martin. "Why Tom Wills is an Australian legend like Ned Kelly", Australian Football. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  14. "GAA Official Guide 2016, Part 2, Rule 4.4 ii (p.16)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  15. Simon Hawkesley. Official Richard Lindon Site. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
  16. 1 2 Blood, mud and aftershave in The Observer Sunday 5 February 2006, Section B is for Ball by Oliver Price
  17. 1 2 3 RLIF (2004). "Section 3: The ball" (PDF). The International Laws of the Game and Notes on the Laws. Rugby League International Federation. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  18. "Rugby Union: Law 2 – The ball". 15 January 2007. Archived from the original on 15 January 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2011.

Related Research Articles

Ball Round object

A ball is a round object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch or juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black-powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.

Rugby football Rugby union and rugby league team sports

Rugby is a collective name for the family of team sports of rugby union and rugby league, as well as the earlier forms of football from which both games, as well as Australian rules football and gridiron football, evolved.

Spheroid Surface formed by rotating an ellipse around one of its axes; special case of ellipsoid

A spheroid, also known as ellipsoid of revolution or rotational ellipsoid, is a quadric surface obtained by rotating an ellipse about one of its principal axes; in other words, an ellipsoid with two equal semi-diameters. A spheroid has circular symmetry.

1872 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

Water polo ball Ball used for water and canoe polo

A water polo ball is a ball used in water polo and canoe polo, usually characterized by a bright yellow color and ease of grip ability, so as to allow it to be held with one hand despite its large size.

William Gilbert (1799–1877), established Gilbert company, the manufacturer of sports equipment, in 1823. Gilbert had a boot and shoemakers shop on 19 High Street next to Rugby School and started making balls for the school out of hand stitched, four-panel, leather casings and pig bladders. These balls were bigger and rounder than today's balls, which made them easier to kick longer distances.

The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1989 onward, it has been a subsidiary of the Finnish group Amer Sports, since 2019 itself a subsidiary of the Chinese group ANTA Sports. Wilson makes equipment for many sports, among them baseball, badminton, American football, basketball, fastpitch softball, golf, racquetball, soccer, squash, tennis, pickleball and volleyball.

Rugby ball

A rugby ball is an elongated ellipsoidal ball used in rugby football. Its measurements and weight are specified by World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation, the governing bodies for both codes, rugby union and rugby league respectively.

Rawlings (company) American sports equipment company

Rawlings Sporting Goods is an American sports equipment manufacturing company based in Town and Country, Missouri. Founded in 1887, Rawlings currently specializes in baseball clothing and equipment, producing gloves, bats, balls, protective gear, batting helmets, uniforms, bags. Footwear includes sneakers, and sandals. The company also sells other accessories such as belts, wallets, and sunglasses.

Sherrin

Sherrin is a brand of football used in Australian rules football and is the official ball of the Australian Football League, designed to its official specifications. It was the first ball designed specifically for the sport.

Ball (association football) Spherical object used in association football tournament

A football, soccer ball, football ball, or association footballball is the ball used in the sport of association football. The name of the ball varies according to whether the sport is called "football", "soccer", or "association football". The ball's spherical shape, as well as its size, weight, and material composition, are specified by Law 2 of the Laws of the Game maintained by the International Football Association Board. Additional, more stringent standards are specified by FIFA and subordinate governing bodies for the balls used in the competitions they sanction.

Burley-Sekem

Burley-Sekem Pty Ltd is an Australian sports equipment manufacturing company. It was formed in 1985 from the merger of "Burley Sports Pty Ltd", and "Sekem Pty Ltd.".

Basketball (ball) Inflated ball used for basketball games

A basketball is a spherical ball used in basketball games. Basketballs usually range in size from very small promotional items that are only a few inches in diameter to extra large balls nearly 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter used in training exercises. For example, a youth basketball could be 27 inches (69 cm) in circumference, while a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's ball would be a maximum of 30 inches (76 cm) and an NCAA women's ball would be a maximum of 29 inches (74 cm). The standard for a basketball in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is 29.5 inches (75 cm) in circumference and for the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), a maximum circumference of 29 inches (74 cm). High school and junior leagues normally use NCAA, NBA or WNBA sized balls.

Richard Lindon

Richard Lindon was an English leatherworker who was instrumental in the development of the modern-day rugby ball by advancing the craft for ball, rubber bladder, and air pump.

Horween Leather Company American company

Horween Leather Company is an American company specializing in the manufacturing and refining of leather and related products. It is one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the United States of America. Since its founding in the early 20th century it has been located in Chicago.

Pig bladder

Pig bladder is the urinary bladder of a domestic pig, similar to the human urinary bladder. Today, this hollow organ has various applications in medicine, and in traditional cuisines and customs. Historically, the pig bladder had several additional uses, all based on its properties as a lightweight, stretchable container that could be filled and tied off.

Barette, Barrette or Barrette Acquitaine was a form of football, originating in the south-west of France. Very similar in outward appearance to rugby union, it was codified in the 1880s and evolved into a popular women's team sport in the 1920s before disappearing shortly before the Second World War.

Comparison of Gaelic football and rugby union

A comparison of Gaelic football and rugby union is possible because of certain similarities between the codes, as well as the numerous dissimilarities.

Comparison of association football and rugby union

Comparison of association football (football/soccer) and rugby union (rugby/rugger) is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins.

Ball (gridiron football)

In Canada and the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organized youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials.