What Happens To Used Nfl Footballs?

We all know that the NFL is a huge business, but what happens to all those used footballs? Here’s a look at where they end up.

Used NFL Footballs

Every NFL game ball is new and specifically made for each game. After the game, the balls are collected by the officials and then sent to the NFL for inspection. The NFL inspects the balls to make sure they meet the league standards and then sends them back to the teams. The teams then inspect the balls and decide what to do with them.

Used in NFL Games

NFL footballs are specially made for professional play and are much higher quality than balls you would purchase for recreational use. After a game, the balls are collected and inspected for any damage. If they pass inspection, they are cleaned and reconditioned for use in the next game. If they don’t pass inspection, they are used for practice or sold as souvenirs.

Used in High School Games

After a game, the balls are collected by the home team equipment manager and sent to a company in Wheaton, Illinois, called Wilson, which reconditions them. The balls are put through a washing machine and then they are refinished in a tumbler, which gives them their shiny new look. Wilson then sends the balls back to the teams.

Used in College Games

The National Football League (NFL) sells game balls to colleges and high schools around the country through its official ball provider, Wilson. These balls are perfect for practices, workouts and official game play at the high school and collegiate level. Once an NFL game ball is used in a game, it is removed from play and used for practice purposes only.

How Are Used NFL Footballs Made?

Every year, the NFL destroys tens of thousands of game-worn footballs. The league has a contract with a company called Wilson, which manufactures the official game balls. Wilson also happens to be the exclusive provider of game balls to the NFL. So, what happens to all those used NFL footballs?

The Wilson Factory

Each year, the NFL uses over 700,000 footballs during regular season play. That’s a lot of footballs! So what happens to all of those balls once the game is over?

Well, most of them are sent to The Wilson Factory in Ada, Ohio. The Wilson Factory is where all official NFL footballs are made.

At the Wilson Factory, the used footballs are cleaned and any damaged stitching is repaired. Once the footballs are fixed up, they are ready to be used again in another NFL game.

So next time you’re watching an NFL game, remember that the ball you’re seeing may have already been used in another game. Who knows, maybe your favorite player has already thrown that very same ball!

The Rawlings Factory

The Rawlings factory in Costa Rica is where nearly all NFL game balls are made. Rawlings has been the official provider of NFL footballs since 1941, and they are currently the only company that produces footballs for the league.

At the factory, a team of around 150 workers starts with a blank piece of cowhide that has been tanned and treated. The hide is then cut into large panels which are sent through a machine that stamps out the basic shape of the ball.

After that, the panels are sewn together by hand and the ball is starting to take shape. The next step is to add the “bladder,” which is made of latex and is what holds air in the ball. Once that’s in place, another panel of cowhide is sewn on top to complete the ball.

Finally, each ball is hand-painted with team logos and other markings, inspected for quality control, and then packaged up to be shipped off to stadiums all around the country.

What Happens To Used NFL Footballs?

After every NFL game, the officials collect the footballs that were used during the game and send them off to be recycled. The recycled footballs are then sent to companies that special in refurbishing sports equipment. From there, the footballs are cleaned, inspected, and re-inflated before being sent back to the NFL.

Refurbished for Use

After a few seasons of game play, an NFL football will start to show its wear and tear. The laces will be frayed, the cover will be scuffed and the bladder will likely need to be replaced. These balls are then sent off to be refurbished.

The first step in the process is to remove all of the dirt, grass and other debris from the surface of the ball. This is done by machine, but occasionally a ball will need to be scrubbed by hand.

Once the ball is clean, any damaged or missing laces are replaced and the ball is re-inflated. The workers then apply a fresh coat of adhesive and re-attach the panels of the ball. Any logos or markings that have been worn away are painted back on at this time.

The final step is to buff out any remaining imperfections in the surface of the ball before it is shipped back to be used again in NFL games.

Sold as Memorabilia

After a game, the footballs are collected by the home team and sent to the NFL for inspection and approval. The balls that are still in good condition are then sold as memorabilia to fans. The balls that are not in good condition are either sold for parts or disposed of.

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