How Footballs Are Made For The NFL
The art of football has been making history since its inauguration in 1920. The NFL was formally known as the American Professional Football Association before they changed their name in 1922. With the constant progression of the game in the following years, the NFL made the decision to join forces with the American Football League (AFL) in 1966
In January of 1967, America had the privilege to watch the very first Super Bowl. 51 years later and with 32 highly talented teams, the expansion of the NFL is clearly evident and the progression of American football is still continuous. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed since the time of the very first Super Bowl kick-off, and that’s its official football supplier.
A Small Business Transformed Into A National Supplier
If you’re a dedicated football fan, you probably know that Wilson Sporting Goods has been the national supplier of the NFL footballs since 1940.
What you may not be aware of is the partnership that was formed by the Horween Leather Co. with Wilson Sporting Goods to supply the leather that the NFL footballs consisted of.
A Quick History Lesson
Back in the 1930s, the Horween Leather Company was a family-run business located in Chicago that was well known for producing high quality leather, including Shell Cordovan. Shell Cordovan is a leather that is commonly used in the production of upscale shoes, gloves, and wallets.
One day, the Horween brothers came acquainted with George S. Halas, the owner of the Chicago Bears. In the same time period, Wilson Sporting Goods, who was also based in Chicago, began their production of hand-sewn footballs.
With the help of Halas, the owners of the NFL agreed to allow Wilson Sporting Goods to be their official football supplier in April of 1940. Though Wilson would be the supplier, Horween Leather Co. would produce their high-quality leather for the footballs that met the NFL’s strict requirements.
From The Factory To the FieldTo produce the perfect quality of leather for a football, The Horween’s had a specific process.
- First, the all hair was removed from the leather.
- Next the leather entered the tanning phase
- Once tanning was completed, the leather would be cut into the appropriate size.
- Then the leather would go through another tanning phase
- After final tanning, oils and waxes would be applied to the leather as a sealant.
- The leather is then stamped with the infamous pebble texture and sent off to the Wilson Sporting Goods' plant.
In only 3 days, the factory workers at Wilson will turn that leather into a ball perfect for gameday.
Leather Care Supply Has The Products To Keep Footballs In Top ShapeAt Leather Care Supply, we provide a multitude of products that will ensure your footballs stand the test time. We also carry quality leather shoe care products, leather dye, and a variety of foot care products.
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- Lyubov Izotova