Why the ball is that shape - Football is a rough game. Does the unique shape of the American football have something to do with this? It's almost impossible to pick up off the ground, so if they get a chance, players just jump on top of it, and often a pile up ensues.Early football and rugby games used balls made from inflated pig bladders. Eventually they became covered with leather and stitched together by laces (those laces are still on today's balls).
But it's the forward pass that has kept the shape the way it is: To do this, a player needs to be able to grip the ball with one hand. And nobody complains about the "prolate spheroid" shape: In LiveScience.com, Dan Peterson quotes college coach Lou Holtz as saying, "The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it."
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Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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