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Where Do NFL Footballs Come from?

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in sports, but for a growing number of people concerned about animal welfare, it's not a day for celebration. The single game that marks the end of the NFL season requires the hides of 22 steers (neutered male cattle) to make the 216 leather-bound footballs required for game day. Kevin Murphy, general manager of official NFL football supplier Wilson Football, told Yahoo! that the hide from one cow is enough to make about 10 footballs. If you do the math, you come up with some scary numbers for every NFL season: There are 32 teams, each of which plays a minimum of 16 games; the postseason tacks on a total of 10 more games, divided among 12 teams. That's 266 games. And even if all of them don't require quite as many footballs as the Super Bowl does, even at half that number (108 balls) you're looking at more than 28,000 footballs per season. That's a minimum of 2,800 cows getting the ax for the footballs alone -- never mind all of the snacking that goes along with a Super Bowl party. And there's more bad news for bovines in the 2020-2021 season: the NFL is expanding its regular season to 17 games and the number of playoff teams to 14.

Some Super Bowl stunners:

  • Every NFL player who makes it to the big game gets loaned a new car to drive around for the week leading up to the championship.
  • Seats at the first Super Bowl in 1967 cost between $6 and $12 USD; in 2020, they were approximately $6,000 apiece.
  • Every football used at every Super Bowl has been imprinted with the words "Wilson," "Commissioner," and "Made in the U.S.A."
Discussion Comments
By anon1003012 — On Apr 15, 2020

So, why do they call it "pigskin"?

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