Wilson Footballs: Made in the USA

We have almost reached the end of the NFL season and the playoffs are fast approaching. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s a whole slew of Week 17 games to enjoy Sunday and we have all the goods to throw the ultimate pigskin party.

But for now, let’s turn the blog spotlight over to UCOMM blog’s Kate Hogan who will regale us with some cool facts about the balls themselves which are – you will not be surprised to learn – made in the USA.

Take it away, Kate…

“Each year, millions of fans sit down to watch the Super Bowl. When the camera focuses on the ball right before kickoff, it is focusing on a product that is American made. Every point that has ever been scored in a Super Bowl since 1941 has been made in Wilson’s factory in Ada, Ohio.

The Wilson Factory, located 70 miles outside of Toledo, Ohio, was opened in the 1930s by the Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing Co. The firm produced footballs, baseball gloves, and boxing gloves. In 1955, Wilson purchased the company and decided to focus solely on footballs.

“Since 1941, every point scored in the NFL has been with a Wilson football. We are very proud of that relationship and want that to continue. We try to make the best-quality product in the world for them,” said Dan Riegle, Wilson Football plant manager.

From the leather to laces, Wilson’s footballs are 100% American-made. From farm to factory, the hide is then cut into oval panels which will eventually be sewn together to make the body of the ball. To maintain its shape, a liner is sewn inside the ball as well as a bladder for inflation. Wilson buys 15,000 to 20,000 feet of cowhide per week from a leather manufacturer in Chicago. One cowhide can produce as many as 20 footballs. From there, the balls are sewn together, stamped with logos, hand laced and inspected thoroughly. Nothing on the factory floor is automated. The plant’s workers don’t use high-tech equipment. Instead, they use sewing machines from the mid-1900s, and they stitch the football lacings completely by hand. It is a multi-step process that involves many different people.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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