In a small town nestled amidst Ohio’s cornfields, a unique tradition unfolds. Not on a sprawling farm, but within the walls of the Wilson Sporting Goods factory, where 120 skilled hands meticulously craft every official NFL game ball, including the coveted Super Bowl LVIII editions headed to Las Vegas this Sunday.
More than just a factory, this facility in Ada, Ohio, holds a piece of American football history. Since 1955, it has served as the sole producer of NFL game balls, making it the world’s only football-specific manufacturing plant. And this year, the team has been buzzing with activity since the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles clinched their victories, preparing 108 game balls for each team.
Handcrafted with Pride:
But quantity doesn’t diminish quality. Each ball undergoes a meticulous, multi-step process, taking three to five days to complete. Machines are absent, replaced by the skilled hands of artisans, not manufacturers. According to Wilson’s website, “not much has changed” since they became the official NFL ball maker in 1941. This commitment to tradition ensures each throw carries the legacy of American craftsmanship.
Beyond the Super Bowl:
Ada’s production doesn’t stop at the championship game. The factory churns out an impressive 4,000 footballs daily, supplying the very tools that ignite passion on fields across the nation. It’s a reminder that the magic of football isn’t just reserved for Sundays in Vegas, but lives on in every play, in every town, thanks to the dedication of these Ohio-based craftspeople.
A Uniquely American Tradition:
In a world increasingly dominated by automation, Ada stands as a testament to the enduring value of skilled hands and unwavering dedication. And in the NFL, where the Wilson ball remains the only major sports league ball made in the USA, Ada ensures that American football, quite literally, remains American.
So, as you watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, remember the quiet hum of the Ada factory, a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship that stitches together not just footballs, but a uniquely American tradition.