Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football by Robert W. PetersonIn Pigskin, Robert W. Peterson presents a lively and informative overview of the early years of pro football - from the late 1880s to the television era. Peterson describes the colorful beginnings of the pro game and its outstanding teams (the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Colts), and the great games they played. Profiles of the most famous players of the era - including Pudge Heffelfinger (the first certifiable professional), Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, and Fritz Pollard (the NFLs first black star) - bring the history of the game to life. Peterson also takes us back to the roots of the pro game, showing how professionalism began when some stars for Yale, Harvard, and Princeton took money - under the table, of course - for their services to alma mater. After the NFL formed in 1920, pro footballs popularity grew gradually but steadily. It burst into national prominence with the Bears-Redskins championship game of 1940. As one sportswriter put it: The weather was perfect. So were the Bears. The final score was 73-0. Peterson shows how, after World War II, the newly-created All America Football Conference challenged the NFL. Though dominated by a gritty Cleveland team, the AAFC was never viewed by NFL teams as much of a threat. That is, not until 1950 when the two leagues merged, bringing about the Cleveland Browns-Philadelphia Eagles game in which the Browns buried the Eagles 35-10. An elegy to a time when, for many players, the game was at least as important as the money it brought them (which wasnt much), Pigskin takes readers up to the 1958 championship game when the Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants in overtime. Bythat time, the great popularity of the game had moved from newspapers and radio to television, and pro football had finally arrived as a major sport.
It's not pigskin! How the NFL gets its footballs
Go long and get ready to soar into the air to catch a flying pigskin for a touchdown. That's right, folks. It's football season again. In America, that means it's time for high school games under the lights on Friday nights, college games throughout the day on Saturday and professional games on Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening and Monday night, too! If you've watched much football, you've probably heard the ball referred to as a "pigskin" many times. But if you've ever played with a real football, you probably know it feels like leather.
We may never know. Equally mysterious is the shape of the ball.
a cloak for the dreamer
When football was in its early years, the ball was made from animal bladders usually pig. This is where the name pigskin comes from. The bladder would be pumped full of air creating a round ball that would be used in games. The ball would have to be pumped up often, as the stems originally created were not the most practical. After some time, the bladder eventually was covered in leather, making it easier to grip and throw.
A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play. The first balls were made of natural materials, such as an inflated pig bladder , later put inside a leather cover, which has given rise to the American slang-term "pigskin". Modern balls are designed by teams of engineers to exacting specifications, with rubber or plastic bladders, and often with plastic covers. Various leagues and games use different balls, though they all have one of the following basic shapes:. The precise shape and construction of footballs is typically specified as part of the rules and regulations. The oldest football still in existence, which is thought to have been made circa , was discovered in the roof of Stirling Castle , Scotland, in
Animal bladders were much more accessible to the average team than more expensive items like leather. When the bladder was inflated, it was mostly round and served well as a ball for gameplay. The only trouble was actually inflating it, which was a pretty disgusting task as you can probably imagine. Luckily for all of the pro and casual football players out there, the practice of blowing up bladders to play ball fell out of practice sometime in the s, around the time American Football was taking its first steps branching off from Rugby. This switch in material of the ball can be explained by the invention of vulcanized rubber in by Charles Goodyear in Eager to ditch the gross task of inflating the bladders, footballs started being made with rubber and cowhide, which made the sport a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved.