How NFL footballs are made JAN 03 2011
The manufacturing process for the official NFL football made by Wilson:
It's fascinating that every football used in the NFL for the past 20-30 years has been made by Deb, Loretta, Peg, Glen, Emmitt, Tina, Etta Mae, Pam, and Michelle. Also, they call the pre-laced, pre-inflated ball a carcass! (thx, peter)
Update: The NY Times takes a slightly different look at the Wilson factory, through the eyes of Jane Helser, who sewed footballs there for almost 50 years.
And then after the teams get the balls, they go through further procedures that vary from team to team. Here's how the NY Giants prep their footballs for Eli Manning:
The new ball is rubbed vigorously for 45 minutes with a dark brush, which removes the wax and darkens the leather.
Next, a wet towel is used to scour the ball until the ball's outer surface is soaked through. "You're not done until the ball is waterlogged and water will no longer bead on it," Ed Skiba said.
While the ball is wet, it is brushed again.
Then the ball is taken over to an electric spin wheel, where it undergoes another high-speed scrubbing.
At this point, the ball is put aside overnight. Then the process is repeated twice over the next couple of days.
But under-inflating by a couple of PSI is a scandal? Absurd.