How Many Laces Are On A Football?

Last Updated on October 15, 2023 by Alex PT

An official NFL football has one lace. The lace is threaded through 16 lace holes, and is tied at the ends to keep the ball closed. This lace also helps players to grip the ball more easily.

How Many Laces on a Football: Uncovering the Mystery

The number of laces on a football has been a mystery for many years. Some people believe that there is one lace, while others believe that there are two. The truth is, there is only one lace on a football.

The lace is threaded through the 16 lace holes on the football and tied to secure the ball. The lace also helps players to grip the ball more easily.

In the past, footballs were made with two laces. However, this design was found to be less durable and more prone to breaking. In the 1930s, the NFL switched to using a single lace design, which has been the standard ever since.

While there is only one lace on a football, there are two ends to the lace. These ends are often different colors, such as white and black. This helps players to quickly identify the front and back of the ball when they are picking it up.

Here are some additional details about the laces on a football:

  • The laces are typically made of leather or synthetic materials.
  • The laces are usually about 18 inches long.
  • The laces are threaded through the lace holes in a specific order. This order helps to ensure that the ball is secure and evenly shaped.
  • The laces are tied in a knot at the end of the ball. This knot helps to prevent the laces from unraveling.

The laces on a football are an important part of the game. They help to keep the ball secure and make it easier for players to grip it. Without the laces, it would be very difficult to play football.

Importance of Laces on a Football

The laces on a football play a pivotal role in the game, serving several important functions:

  1. Grip and Handling: The laces provide a textured surface that enhances grip and handling of the football. This is crucial for all players, but especially for quarterbacks who need a secure hold on the ball for passing and handing it off to running backs.
  2. Aerodynamics and Passing: The raised laces disrupt the airflow over the surface of the ball. This disruption creates a more predictable and stable flight path, which is essential for passing accuracy. Quarterbacks use the laces to impart the desired spin on the ball, allowing it to travel through the air with precision. This spin, often referred to as the “spiral,” helps the ball maintain a straight and accurate trajectory.
  3. Kicking and Punting: Kickers and punters also rely on the laces. When kicking a field goal or punting, they aim to strike the ball in a specific spot, usually avoiding the laces. The laces help them align the ball correctly to ensure an accurate and effective kick.
  4. Control: Players use the laces to control the orientation of the ball. Whether it’s a quarterback adjusting the ball for a perfect grip or a receiver making fingertip catches, the laces are crucial for control. Punters and kickers also use the laces to position the ball correctly for different types of kicks.
  5. Visibility: The laces help with the ball’s visibility, particularly when it’s in flight. Receivers use the laces as a reference point to track the ball’s movement, making it easier to make catches. Additionally, the contrast of the laces against the ball’s surface makes it stand out, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  6. Tradition: The laces have become an iconic part of the football’s design and are closely associated with the sport’s heritage. They add character and a distinctive look to the football.

The Forward Pass

At first, when football originated, it was a very rough game because players had to run with the ball in their hands to try and make a touchdown. This made it a very tedious sport because the opponents were too much for one player to bypass. Back then this style of play made the game have very rough players who played like animals, hitting each other and all that. It was so dangerous that nineteen players died and over one hundred and fifty players were severely injured from playing the game. This was only during the season of 1905. President Roosevelt had a son in college who liked to play the game, he also got injured so the President called colleges together to have a meeting with all of them. He made them consider making the sport a safe sport, sixty colleges were in attendance at this meeting, and in 1906, some rules were changed, and the forward pass was then added to the play. 

Maintain Your Grip

For the players who have been playing this game for a long time without having to make a forward pass, it wasn’t easy for them to get a grip on the new system of having to pass the ball correctly. They were playing with inefficiency till a coach from Missouri’s St Louis University figured out from analyzing the ball that the lace on the ball was the key to having a good grip on the ball. His name was Eddie Cochems. Howard Bosey was the first man to Originate the spiral throw, this is a very common way that these players pass the ball. He was from the Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The spiral throw involves holding the ball around the laces, and spreading your hands round in that area. He got the inspiration after learning the underhand spiral from a Native American. 

Alteration Of Designs

After some time and after a few positive test results of the forward pass, many players and coaches liked the idea and they saw what the forward pass could do for the sport. Many colleges started making sure that their players adopted the play and were prominent in it because they soon figured out that the forward pass wasn’t that hard for players to learn. Based on the new passing system that had been adopted, the football shape had to be changed in order to let the players feel more comfortable passing the ball. The ball was at first a watermelon-shaped football but then they changed it to an aerodynamic watermelon shape. What this means is that the ball now had edges shaped like the nose of a plane. The lace on the new ball was now longer and it helped players grip the ball better. 

New Laces

New Laces

The new laces on the football for the NFL are made by Creative Extrusion and Technology Inc. From Brockton, Massachusetts. The laces of the ball are made through the heating of plastic pellets that turn them into strings that measure from about 46 to 50 inches in length. After the production of the laces, they are transported to a sporting goods store in Ada, Ohio. The footballs are then closed with the laces, people get to hand stitch them after the pig’s bladder has been put in. 

Passing And Kicking

Every player of the NFL has been taught somehow to pass the ball with the lace, there are different styles to throwing the ball effectively, and they all have styles that work well for them. Eli and Payton the two brothers and quarterbacks use only two of their fingers to hold on to the ball. 

The High School Footballs And The Ones Used In NFL, Are They The Same?

The high school players are young players who will soon become college players. As they grow, the football they use has to be bigger because a child cannot use the same football and as those in the NFL. 

The NFL Footballs, Do They Have Laces?

Creative Extrusion and Technologies, a company based in Brockton is in charge of the manufacturing of the laces used in these NFL footballs. The company has been around since 1952, they have made laces for the NFL for a very long time. They have been doing this for the past 30 years. The company is known for its prominence in making laces for different football companies. 


The laces on the football are very important to the players because the lace helps them to throw the ball correctly and make better plays.


Leave a Comment