How Many Footballs Are Used in an NFL Game?

The National Football League (NFL) is known for its intense and thrilling games, with players showcasing their skills, teamwork, and strategy on the gridiron. At the heart of every NFL game is the football, the essential piece of equipment that enables the action to unfold. But have you ever wondered how many footballs are used in an NFL game? In this article, we’ll explore the role of the football in an NFL game and provide insights into the number of footballs used during a typical matchup.

The football in an NFL game is more than just a ball; it’s the focal point of every play, every touchdown, and every field goal. Made of leather or synthetic materials, an NFL football is an oblong-shaped ball that measures approximately 11 inches in length and about 22 inches in circumference. The ball’s unique shape makes it challenging to handle, creating opportunities for various plays and strategies that define the sport.

How Many Footballs Are Used in an NFL Game? Some numbers

During an NFL game, multiple footballs are in play. While the exact number can vary slightly, the NFL mandates specific guidelines for the use of footballs:

  1. Kicking Balls: Each NFL team provides 12 “kicking balls” to the game officials before the game. These balls are used exclusively for kicking plays, including field goals, extra points, and kickoffs. Kicking balls are required to be brand new and have a uniform texture.
  2. Game Balls: The home team typically provides 12 “game balls” to the officials as well. Game balls are used for all other aspects of the game, including passing and running plays. These balls may have been used in previous games and are broken in to the liking of the home team’s quarterback. They must also meet specific size and inflation requirements.
  3. Backup Balls: In addition to the 12 game balls and 12 kicking balls, there are usually a few backup footballs readily available on the sideline. These serve as replacements in case any of the primary footballs become damaged, lost, or unsuitable for play.
  4. Officials’ Balls: The game officials also have their own set of footballs that they use to spot the ball, measure for first downs, and for other officiating purposes.
  5. Practice Balls: Teams may also have a few practice balls on hand for warm-ups and drills before the game.

It’s important to note that the number of footballs used in an NFL game may exceed 24 when accounting for backup balls and officials’ balls, but the primary footballs used for game action are the 12 game balls and 12 kicking balls.

Maintenance and Regulation

The NFL takes the condition of footballs very seriously. Game officials inspect and approve all footballs before each game, ensuring that they meet the league’s standards for size, weight, and inflation pressure. Throughout the game, officials are responsible for ensuring that the footballs remain in proper condition and are not tampered with in any way.

In an NFL game, multiple footballs are used to facilitate various aspects of play, including kicking, passing, and running. The precise number of footballs typically totals 24, with 12 designated for kicking plays and 12 for all other aspects of the game. These footballs are carefully maintained and regulated to ensure a fair and competitive playing environment for both teams. The football is not just an essential piece of equipment; it’s the central element that brings the excitement and drama of NFL football to life on the field.

Photo Credit Dave Adamson // Unsplash

I have been collecting memorabilia for half of my life. I started very small with a few trading cards and since then I am more and more interested in the subject. I read a lot in Facebook groups, collect especially Jordan memorabilia. I'm happy if you like my content.

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