Cows in the NFL?

Wilson has been making footballs for the NFL since 1941. When Wilson and the NFL came together, Wilson opened a factory in Ohio to guarantee that the footballs would be American made, high quality footballs. The footballs are manufactured in the United States using American cow hides. The cows are selected from feedlots in Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. Cowhides from young steers are used because the leather is more resistant to stretching.

The Wilson Company is located in Ada, Ohio, and produces 4,000 footballs a day by hand. When the cowhides arrive at Wilson, they have been treated and stamped with the Wilson “W.” Then the 120 people who are employed at Wilson get to work. They cut the cowhide into panels one section at a time, sew the panels inside out, steam them so that they are soft, and then lace them precisely so that they are capable of being thrown in tight spirals.

Every ball that has ever been used in an NFL game has been a Wilson football. According to NFL Rules, the footballs must be a Wilson football, must be hand selected, and must bear the signature of the Commissioner of the League.

When it comes to the “big game” every year, employees at Wilson work through the night to make sure that the game balls are shipped to the two teams within 24 hours of winning their NFC and AFC Championship games. It is estimated that about 120 balls are using during the big game, including 12 for the kicker. It takes the hides of 22 cows to create and supply these footballs for the game.

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