The weight of an NFL football is critically important to the game of football. NFL rules dictate that all balls used must weigh between 14 and 16 ounces, with a tolerance of 1 ounce either way. As one might expect, the weight of the ball has a direct impact on how it is thrown and handled, as well as how well it carries when kicked in place kicks or punts. Much like playing another sport, building up muscle memory for throwing or kicking with different weights is part of any quarterback’s or kicker’s training regimen. This article explores the importance of ball weight in the game of football.

How Much Does an NFL Football Weigh

Since the invention of the football, its design has been refined to meet the needs of Offensive and Defensive players. Over time, regulation balls have been made with different weights and sizes to optimize their performance in both a competitive and recreational setting. The National Football League (NFL) has specific requirements when it comes to the weight and size of their footballs. Prior to 1974, NFL footballs were not required to comply with any given weight regulations. After 1974, tests of all official NFL balls used in games had to be conducted before each game and must meet certain specifications for weight and size. The minimum requirements for an NFL ball are that it be between 410 56 oz (14-15 oz) with a circumference at the middle of 27-3/4” – 28-1/2”. Balls from the 1940s averaged 17 oz. Today, most official game balls weigh between 14 – 15 oz based on manufacturers standards for maximum performance for quarterbacks who perform their best with a lighter football. The differences in regulation weights depend on what ball is being used during each season or circumstance as determined by a league committee or rules committee previously established regulations. Sports scientists continue to study how different weights affect gameplay as technological improvements allow us to gain deeper insight into athletic performance by making adjustments in real time during games that can help identify potential issues prior to athletes putting themselves in harm’s way due to fatigue or injury caused by heavier NFL footballs then historically used in prior generations of play.

Specifications of an NFL Football

An NFL football is not as simple as it may appear. It is subject to very specific rules and regulations set by the National Football League. There are strict size and weight specifications that an NFL football must meet and these specifications can impact how a player uses the ball and the overall performance of the team. Let’s look at the specifications of an NFL football.

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The size of an NFL football is regulated by the rules of the National Football League (NFL). According to these regulations, all NFL footballs must have a circumference between 21 3/4 inches and 22 1/2 inches, and the weight must range between 14 and 15 ounces. As a way to ensure homogeneity among game balls from different teams, each set of balls used in league games should pass inspection by independent engineers selected by the Commissioner. These engineers are responsible for marking each ball to ensure that it meets all requirements specified in the NFL Rules and Regulations. During each game, officials take multiple measurements and verify the markings placed on game balls prior to kick off. Inflation pressure must be 13 PSI (“pounds per square inch”) when checked before or during play. Each team must provide its own set of 12 balls for use during training, practice or games.


The National Football League has a strict set of regulations for the dimensions and weight of an official football. All balls must be between 11-13 inches long and weigh between 14-15 ounces when dry. This is to ensure that all players, from youth to professional levels, have consistent parameters for competitive play. A slightly different regulation holds for “kicking” footballs, which are specifically for place kickers or punters. Kicking footballs must be between 11-11 ¾ inches long with a long circumference of 28-28 1/2 inches and a short circumference of 21-21 ½ inches. Additionally, kicking balls tend to be slightly lighter at another level of 13 ½ -14 ¾ ounces when dry. In the NFL, kicking balls may also feature two white stripes running down its middle lengthwise like a rugby ball so that referees can easily tell them apart from regular game footballs in play.


When creating an NFL football, the highest quality materials are used to ensure consistent performance. The exterior material is a specially designed composite leather that provides maximum protection and grip in any weather conditions. The interior of the football is filled with absorbent material to make it easier to catch and hold onto. A set of four stripes identifying the maker, Wilson Sporting Goods Company, are also embossed onto the leather or synthetic surface of the ball. The standard circumference for the ball is 21 inches to 28 inches, and its length should not exceed 11 ½ inches. Depending on the level of play involved, an NFL football must weigh 14 to 15 ounces for professional game play and between 12 ⅜ and 14 ounces for collegiate games. Referees also use a vast array of other tools such as air pressure gauges when inspecting each ball before each kick off or scrimmage.

Testing And Quality Control

In order to ensure that all NFL footballs meet the highest standards for quality and performance, the league requires that each ball undergo rigorous testing. The testing protocol includes a number of factors, including pressure, weight, and circumference. Every NFL football is required to have a weight in the range of 14 to 15 ounces. Each official football is tested twice during manufacturing and then again before being shipped out to each team for use in games. The NFL also uses specific testing equipment to make sure that every ball is inspected and adjusted against strict specifications. The most common measurement — determined with an approved electronic scale — is its weight, as well as its overall circumference, which must be between 27 3/8” (for youth or pop warner leagues) and 28 1/2” (for professional or collegiate play). A special test machine designed by Wilson Company is used to ensure that every individual football meets these criteria; it also assists the manufacturer in adjusting for variations in ball construction and size due to temperature change or other environmental factors. The rigorous quality control measures the NFL has put into place show how important maintaining certain standards are. Soccer players around the world practice hard with whatever type of ball they choose because anything can be used in gameplay; yet having an industry-regulated standard weight provides an equal playing field for all athletes as soon as they step onto it.



In conclusion, the size and weight of an NFL football is extremely important to the game itself. Lighter footballs may help the offense gain an advantage, while heavier balls can help a defense slow down their opponents. Choosing the right weight of the ball can be tricky as it will depend on a variety of factors such as weather conditions, playing surface, and specific teams’ tactics. Overall, the weight of an NFL football does matter when it comes to competing in this popular sport. It is essential for officials to ensure that all balls meet certain FCC guidelines before each game in order to ensure that players are provided with a consistent playing surface throughout each match. Players should also be aware of any changes made in regards to its weight so they can adjust their strategies accordingly.

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