Can You Keep a NFL Game Ball? Exploring the Rules and Regulations

Can you keep a NFL game ball? That’s a good question. And one that’s not easily answerable in a few sentences. But let me tell you this: if you’re a diehard football fan who’s ever been to an NFL game, you’ve at least thought about trying to keep one of those balls that gets thrown into the stands after a touchdown. You know what I’m talking about. You see grown men jumping up and down and scrambling over each other, all trying to catch that elusive prize. And you wonder, could I be one of them?

But before you jump up and make a fool of yourself, let me give you a little insider knowledge. First off, it’s not as easy as it looks. Those balls come flying out of nowhere, and even if you’re close enough to catch one, you might have to fight off a few other fans to keep it. Second, if you do manage to snag a game ball, you might be in for a surprise. Because, contrary to popular belief, you can’t just take it home and put it on your shelf as a cherished memento. There are rules and regulations around keeping NFL game balls, and they’re not as simple as you might think.

So, in this article, we’re going to explore the somewhat murky world of keeping an NFL game ball. We’ll look at the regulations surrounding game balls, talk about some famous cases of fans keeping them, and give you some tips on how to increase your chances of nabbing one. So stay tuned, and let’s find out if you can really keep an NFL game ball.

The Origin and History of NFL Game Balls

The National Football League (NFL) game ball is one of the most iconic symbols of the sport. It is the ball that is used in every NFL game, and it has a rich history that dates back to the inception of the league. Here, we will take a look at the origin and history of NFL game balls.

  • The first NFL game ball was made by Spalding in 1941. Prior to this, teams used their own balls.
  • In 1941, the NFL commissioned Spalding to create a ball for the league. The ball had to be white, with stripes, and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.
  • The first NFL game ball was used on December 7, 1941, during the Championship Game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants.
  • Since then, the NFL game ball has gone through several changes, both in terms of design and materials used to make it.

The Design of the NFL Game Ball

The design of the NFL game ball has evolved over the years, but it has always maintained the same basic shape and size. Today, the NFL game ball is made of cowhide or vulcanized rubber. It is designed to be easy to grip and throw, and it has a unique stitching pattern that helps players maintain control of the ball.

The current design of the NFL game ball features a brown leather exterior with white stripes and a team logo. The ball is 11 inches in length and 22 inches in circumference. It weighs about 14 to 15 ounces, and it is inflated to a pressure of 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi).

The Importance of the NFL Game Ball

The NFL game ball is more than just a ball used in games. It is a symbol of the sport and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the athletes who play it. The NFL game ball represents the passion and commitment required to succeed in this sport. Every player dreams of holding it in their hands and making big plays with it on game day.

Material Weight Circumference
Cowhide 14 to 15 ounces 22 inches
Vulcanized Rubber 14 to 15 ounces 22 inches

In conclusion, the NFL game ball has come a long way since its inception in 1941. It has evolved to become the perfect ball for players in this sport. The NFL game ball is more than just a ball; it is a symbol of the sport and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the athletes who play it.

Rules and Regulations regarding the Use of NFL Game Balls

As anyone who loves football knows all too well, the game ball is an essential and highly coveted piece of equipment. NFL game balls are subject to strict rules and regulations regarding their use, which are set forth by the league to ensure the integrity of the game. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the regulations governing NFL game balls and explain why they are so important.

What are the Regulations Governing NFL Game Balls?

  • 1. The game ball must be made of new, undamaged leather and measure between 11 to 11.25 inches in length and 28 to 28.5 inches in circumference.
  • 2. Each team is responsible for providing 12 game balls that meet the above specifications for use in each game.
  • 3. Prior to the game, the footballs are inspected by the referee and measured to ensure they meet the above specifications.
  • 4. The game balls are then marked with a special “K” or “P” depending on their intended use (kickoff or punting).
  • 5. Once the game begins, the game balls are in the custody of the ball boys who are employed by the home team.

It is worth noting that in 2015, the NFL implemented new rules regarding the inflation level of game balls in response to the “deflategate” scandal involving the New England Patriots. The new regulations require the game balls to be inflated to a pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (PSI) and mandate that they be checked regularly by the referee during the game.

Why are these Regulations So Important?

The strict rules governing NFL game balls are in place to ensure the fairness and integrity of the game. By setting strict standards for the size, weight, and inflation level of the balls, the league aims to maintain a level playing field between teams and prevent any unfair advantages from arising due to the use of a non-standard ball.

In addition, the careful handling and tracking of the game balls during each game helps ensure that they are not tampered with or altered in any way that could affect the outcome of the game. By having each team provide their own set of game balls, the league further decreases the likelihood of any tampering occurring.

Overall, the rules and regulations governing NFL game balls are an essential aspect of the game. While they may seem small or insignificant, the use of a properly sized, weighted, and marked ball can make a huge difference in the outcome of a game, and the league is right to take every precaution necessary to ensure that the game is played fairly.

Regulation Requirement
Size Between 11 to 11.25 inches in length and 28 to 28.5 inches in circumference.
Weight 14 to 15 ounces
Inflation Level Between 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch (PSI)
Number of Game Balls Provided by Each Team 12

The above table summarizes the key regulations governing NFL game balls, and serves as a helpful reminder of how important it is to follow these rules closely.

How NFL Game Balls are Made

Have you ever wondered how an NFL game ball, used in one of America’s most beloved sports, is made? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of manufacturing these iconic objects.

The Leather

  • The leather used in NFL game balls is 100% Horween leather, which comes from a family-owned and -operated tannery in Chicago.
  • The leather is hand-selected and specially treated to ensure durability and flexibility.
  • Horween leather is also used by other famous companies, including Red Wing, Allen Edmonds, and Timberland.

The Stitching

The stitching on an NFL game ball is an iconic feature, and it’s done by hand. The stitches are made with red waxed thread, which not only looks great but helps to reinforce the seams. Each ball has a total of 216 stitches, and each stitch must be perfectly aligned and evenly spaced.

The Inflation

Before being used in a game, each NFL game ball is inflated to a very specific air pressure. The inflation process is carefully monitored and controlled, with the pressure set at 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch (PSI). This ensures that each ball used in a game is consistent, and players can rely on it to perform the way they expect.

The Quality Control

After each ball is made, it goes through a rigorous quality control process. Each ball is weighed, measured, and inspected for defects, ensuring that every single ball used in an NFL game is of the highest quality. This helps to maintain the integrity of the game and ensures that players can rely on their equipment.

Statistic Requirement
Weight Between 14 and 15 ounces
Circumference Between 28 and 28.5 inches
Shape Oval

As you can see, making an NFL game ball is a complex process that requires a great deal of attention to detail. But with the right materials, techniques, and quality control, it’s possible to create a ball that can withstand the demands of a high-intensity sport like football.

The Role of Game Balls in NFL Matches

When it comes to the NFL, the ball used in a game is crucial. The game ball is the one that the NFL provides to both teams, and it must meet specific standards. Here are some of the key factors about game balls in the NFL:

The shape and size must be perfect as it affects the way the ball flies through the air.

  • The regulation size for a football is 11 inches long and about 22 inches in circumference at its widest point.
  • The NFL uses a special ball that meets its specific standards, and each team has its own custom “logo” on the ball’s surface.
  • Game balls are required to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch to ensure consistency throughout the game.

One of the main roles of a game ball is to provide a level playing field for both teams. Both sides need to feel as if they have the same opportunity to score points, and a faulty ball can lead to an unfair advantage. Prior to the game, officials check all the game balls to make sure they meet the NFL standards. The balls are then accompanied by the officials until they are in the hands of the designated ball attendants for each team.

Once the ball attendants get the game balls, they start the pre-game prep work. The attendants apply a thin layer of mud to the surface of the ball to make them easier to grip and catch. This thin layer of mud helps to ensure that the ball doesn’t slip out of the player’s hands, making for a more accurate pass and catch.

Game Ball Usage Breakdown Number of Balls
Regular Season Games 48
Playoff Games 108
Super Bowl 108

Overall, the game ball plays a crucial role in the game and can impact the outcome of a game. From its proper size and inflation to the mud applied before the game, every detail is important. Game balls provide players an opportunity to score points and achieve greatness. It’s no wonder fans clamor to get their hands on them after the game’s end!

Who Gets to Keep the Game Ball after an NFL Game

Game balls are some of the most coveted memorabilia in the NFL. These balls are significant not only because they were used during a particular game, but they are often awarded to players who had a great performance, such as throwing a touchdown pass or recording a crucial interception. That being said, who exactly has the right to keep the game ball after an NFL game? In this article, we will explore this topic in-depth and answer some of the most common questions that arise regarding the ownership of game balls in the NFL.

Can Players Keep the Game Ball?

  • Typically, the answer is yes.
  • If a particular player had a great game, they are often awarded the game ball by their coach or members of the team staff.
  • The player is free to keep the ball or give it as a gift to someone else, such as a family member or close friend.

What Happens to the Game Ball if a Player Doesn’t Keep it?

If a player chooses not to keep the game ball, there are a few things that can happen to it:

  • It could be displayed in the team’s facility or stadium
  • The ball may end up in the hands of a coach or member of the team staff
  • The game ball could be added to the team’s equipment storage and eventually used in a future game

Are there any Exceptions?

While players often have the right to keep the game ball, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • If the ball has significant historical value, such as being used in a Super Bowl or breaking a significant record, it may be sent to the NFL Hall of Fame
  • In some instances, the ball may be used as part of a team’s charity auction or raffle to raise funds for a cause


Who typically gets to keep the game ball? What are some common exceptions?
Players who had a great performance during the game If the ball has significant historical value or is used for a charity fundraising event

Overall, game balls are an essential part of NFL history and memorabilia. Players who have the opportunity to keep the ball as a memento of their performance will likely treasure it for years to come. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, especially if the ball has historical value or can be used for a good cause.

The Value of an NFL Game Ball

Any true sports fan understands the intrinsic value that comes with owning a piece of memorabilia from their favorite team or athlete. However, when it comes to NFL game balls, the value goes beyond just sentimental attachment.

Here are six reasons why an NFL game ball is such a valuable piece of memorabilia:

  • Authenticity: Game balls are official NFL merchandise, ensuring that the ball you own is a certified piece of the NFL’s history.
  • Scarcity: With only a limited number of game balls used during a single game, the scarcity of these items only adds to their value.
  • Historical Significance: Whether it’s from a regular-season game or a Super Bowl, every NFL game ball has a unique story to tell.
  • Player Signatures: Many game balls are signed by players, adding an extra layer of personalization and increasing their value.
  • Benchmark for the Industry: Game balls set a standard for what other footballs should measure up to.
  • Commercial Value: The commercial value of a game ball can increase depending on the popularity of the teams or players involved in the game.

It’s no surprise that game balls from iconic moments in NFL history can fetch thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars at auction. In 2015, the ball used to score the very first touchdown of Super Bowl I sold for $62,140. And in 2018, the ball that sealed the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory in Super Bowl LII sold for $48,048.

So, whether you are a die-hard fan looking to add to your collection or an investor looking for a profitable opportunity, an NFL game ball can be an incredibly valuable piece of memorabilia to own.

If you happen to come across a game ball, it’s important to handle it with care. Keep it out of direct sunlight and aim to store it in a temperature-controlled environment to preserve its condition.

Ball Super Bowl Sold For
The ball used to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl I Super Bowl I $62,140
The ball that sealed the Eagles victory in Super Bowl LII Super Bowl LII $48,048
The ball used to score the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII Super Bowl XLVII $20,315

At the end of the day, an NFL game ball is not just a chunk of leather. It’s a piece of history, a physical representation of an unforgettable moment in football history that can be cherished and appreciated for generations to come.

The Significance of NFL Game Balls for Players and Fans

When it comes to football, game balls are more than just a piece of equipment. They represent the hard work and dedication put in by both players and fans. Here, we’ll explore the significance of NFL game balls for players and fans.

One of the biggest honors a player can receive is being awarded a game ball. These balls represent exceptional performances, whether it’s a star quarterback throwing for four touchdowns or a defensive player making a crucial interception. It is a tangible recognition of their hard work and exceptional skills.

  • For players, receiving a game ball can be a career highlight that they cherish for years to come.
  • Game balls serve as a symbol of the team’s success and what they’ve achieved together.
  • They also serve as motivation to continue to work hard and strive for excellence on and off the field.

For fans, game balls represent a piece of history. They are tokens of memorable games and moments that will be remembered for years to come. Collecting game balls can be a lifelong passion for some devoted fans.

But game balls aren’t just a sentimental keepsake. They are carefully crafted and meticulously designed for optimal performance. The NFL game ball, for example, has a unique pattern and construction that is tailored to the quarterbacks’ specific grip and throw. These specifications have been honed over years of testing and experimentation to create the perfect ball for the game.

Specifications Description
Shape The NFL ball is shaped like a prolate spheroid with size, weight, and laces regulations.
Material It is made of premium cowhide with a high-quality finish for increased grip and durability.
Inflation The ball has to be inflated to a certain pressure to meet league standards.
Design The laces on the ball are raised and tightly wound to provide excellent grip for the quarterback.

In conclusion, NFL game balls hold a special significance for both players and fans. They represent a symbol of exceptional performance and team success, serve as motivation for continued hard work, and are a testament to the careful craftsmanship and design that goes into creating the perfect ball for the game.

The Most Iconic NFL Game Ball Moments in History: Subsection 8

It’s not just players who get to keep game balls. In some cases, lucky fans have caught game-winning balls and were able to keep them. Here are some memorable moments where fans got their hands on game balls:

  • In 2018, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tossed a ball into the stands after scoring a touchdown, and it ended up in the hands of a teenage fan who couldn’t believe his luck.
  • In Super Bowl XLII, New York Giants receiver David Tyree made one of the most incredible catches in NFL history, pinning the ball against his helmet to secure the win against the undefeated New England Patriots. The ball ended up in the hands of a Giants fan who had no idea how much it would eventually be worth.
  • In 2017, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw his 500th career touchdown pass to receiver Danny Amendola, and the lucky fan who caught the ball was able to negotiate a trade with Brady for game-worn jerseys and other memorabilia.

As evidenced by these moments, catching a game ball can be a dream come true for fans, and the memorabilia can become priceless keepsakes.

The Process of Authenticating an NFL Game Ball

The game ball is the most important piece of equipment in any NFL game. It’s the ball that’s used for every snap, every throw, every catch, every touchdown, and every kick. As a result, game balls are highly sought after by collectors and fans alike. But can you keep an NFL game ball? The answer is yes, as long as you follow the proper procedures for authenticating it.

  • Step 1: Identify the ball – Before you can authenticate a game ball, you need to know what kind of ball it is. This means identifying whether it was used in a regular-season game, a playoff game, or a Super Bowl, as well as which teams were playing and which year it was used.
  • Step 2: Get it signed – Once you’ve identified the ball, you need to get it signed by the players who used it in the game. This should include the quarterbacks, kickers, and any other players who handled the ball during the game.
  • Step 3: Get it authenticated – Once the ball has been signed, it needs to be authenticated by an NFL representative. This involves checking the ball for any signs of tampering, as well as verifying the signatures of the players who handled the ball.

In addition to these steps, there are a number of other factors that can affect the authenticity of a game ball. These include the condition of the ball, the location where it was found, and the reputation of the person selling it. To ensure that you’re getting a genuine game ball, it’s important to do your research and work with reputable dealers or auction houses.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a genuine NFL game ball, it’s a prized possession that you’ll want to care for properly. This means keeping it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or moisture, and handling it with care to avoid damaging the signatures or the ball itself.

Overall, the process of authenticating an NFL game ball can be time-consuming and costly, but it’s worth it if you’re a serious collector or fan. By following the proper procedures and working with reputable dealers, you can ensure that you’re getting a genuine piece of NFL history that you can treasure for years to come.

Collecting NFL Game Balls and Memorabilia.

For many football fans, collecting NFL game balls and memorabilia is not only a hobby but a way of life. Here are some of the things you need to know about collecting NFL game balls.

10 Tips for Collecting NFL Game Balls

  • Start small: It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of collecting NFL game balls. However, it’s important to start small and build your collection gradually. This way, you can learn about the different types of game balls and their values.
  • Know your stuff: Study the history of NFL game balls and familiarize yourself with the details of each ball. This way, you can avoid buying fake or replica game balls.
  • Buy from reputable dealers: It’s important to buy from dealers who have a good track record and a solid reputation in the market. This way, you can be sure that the game ball you are buying is genuine and authentic.
  • Choose your specialization: Consider specializing in a particular team, era, or type of game ball. This can help you build a focused and cohesive collection.
  • Set a budget: Collecting NFL game balls can quickly become an expensive hobby. Set a budget and stick to it to avoid overspending.
  • Display your collection: Take pride in your collection and show it off. You can display it in a dedicated room or use special cases to highlight each game ball.
  • Keep your collection organized: Keep track of your collection by labeling each game ball with its details, such as the date and place it was awarded.
  • Maintain your game balls: Proper care and maintenance of your game balls can prevent damage and ensure their longevity.
  • Join collector forums: Connect with other collectors and learn from their experiences. Collector forums can also be a great place to buy or trade game balls.
  • Enjoy the hobby: Above all, collecting NFL game balls should be a fun and enjoyable hobby. Don’t get too obsessed with the details and remember to have fun!

Types of NFL Memorabilia

In addition to game balls, there are many other types of NFL memorabilia, including:

  • Jerseys
  • Helmets
  • Football cards
  • Autographs
  • Trophies

Game Ball Evolution

The NFL game ball has evolved over the years. Here’s a timeline of the different types of game balls:

Year Type of Ball
1920 Brown leather with laces
1941 White ball with laces
1960 Grooved ball
1985 Officially “The Duke” by Wilson Sporting Goods

The Wilson “The Duke” game ball is still used in NFL games today and is considered one of the most iconic and sought-after game balls by collectors.

Can You Keep a NFL Game Ball?

Q: Can I keep a NFL game ball that I catch in the stands?
A: Unfortunately, no. NFL policy states that any football that enters the stands is considered “immediate dead-ball territory” and must be returned to the nearest usher or stadium security.

Q: What if a player throws me a game ball after a score?
A: In this case, it is up to the player’s discretion whether or not he wants to give you the ball. However, most players will likely throw the ball back onto the field to avoid a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Q: Do NFL players get to keep the ball after a touchdown?
A: Typically, no. NFL rules dictate that the game ball must be returned to the referee after a touchdown for inspection and possible use during the remainder of the game.

Q: Are there any circumstances where someone can legally keep a NFL game ball?
A: Yes, if a player or coach intentionally gives a game ball to a fan as a memento or souvenir, that fan is legally allowed to keep the ball.

Q: What happens to game balls after the game is over?
A: Game balls are usually kept by the team or given to players as a reward for exceptional performance.

Q: Can I buy a game ball from the NFL?
A: Yes, the NFL sells game balls through the official online store and other licensed retailers.

Q: How much does a game ball cost?
A: A authentic NFL game ball typically costs between $100 and $150, depending on the specific model and retailer.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading about whether or not you can keep a NFL game ball. While it may be tempting to try and snag a ball during a game, it is important to remember that doing so is against NFL policy. However, fans can still obtain game balls through the official online store or other licensed retailers. Be sure to visit again later for more interesting articles about sports and entertainment.