Since colleges started slimming down the football in 1912, there have been other innovations in the pigskin. Here are a couple of recent tweaks to the prolate spheroid that may interest gridders of all ages.
The Hands-On Football (right), made by Sportime International, of Atlanta, is designed to teach kids the proper grip for passing. Recommended for ages six to 12, the ball is smaller than a regulation football and has hand-positioning guides for both right-and lefthanded players. Bright orange and yellow panels make it easier to see the rotation of a properly thrown spiral. Each ball costs $12.50. To order, visit Sportime on the Web at www.sportime.com, or call the company at 800-523-8176.
For everyone who (supposedly) already knows how to throw that perfect spiral, Spalding offers the All-Weather Football, designed to be easier to grip in wet weather. According to Spalding's own tests, other footballs absorbed up to 230% more water than the All-Weather. The Spalding ball's water resistance is the result of a tanning process that incorporates waterproofing rather than a topical coating. The ball comes in two models, pro and varsity, and retails for $69.99. For information on the Web, click on www.spalding.com, or call 800-225-6601.