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Is the NFL football larger than the NCAA football?

Asked by: TheRaginCajun
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  • It can be, But. . . .

    Everyone loves to say that the NFL football IS bigger than the NCAA football. They'll say things like "have you ever held an NFL football? " or "it just looks bigger" as if this was the way the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers does things.

    Let's look at each league's requirements for the size, Shape, And weight of their footballs:

    NFL specifications:
    --Shall have the form of a prolate spheroid
    --Shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds psi) rubber bladder enclosed
    in a pebble grained, Leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind.
    --The size shall be: long axis 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches
    --The weight shall be 14 to 15 ounces

    NCAA's specifications:
    --Shall have a cover consisting of four panels of pebble-grained leather (natural tan color) without corrugations other than seams
    --There shall be two 1-inch white stripes that are three to three and one-quarter inches from the end of the ball and located only on the two panels adjacent to the laces
    --Shall be inflated to the pressure of 12-1/2 to 13-1/2 pounds psi
    --The size shall be: long axis 10 7/8 to 11 7/16 inches; long circumference, 27 3/4 inches to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 20 3/4 inches to 21 1/4 inches
    --The weight shall be 14 to 15 ounces

    Based on the official ball specification tolerances, It's true that the NFL ball tolerances are tighter (i. E. Less room for differences); however, Looking at the possible extremes, The NFL ball CAN be manufactured smaller than an NCAA ball and still be within proper specifications.

    My conclusion is that the required specifications for each league's ball allows for variances that could result in the manufacturing of one league's ball that can be larger than the other league's ball and vice-versa. Because tolerances are acceptable, It's factually incorrect to state that the NFL ball IS bigger than the NCAA ball.


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