Wilson makes NFL game balls. Good ol' Wilson. They're headquartered in Chicago. The footballs are made in Ohio. They make tennis stuff and baseball stuff, and they've been around since 1913, doing good ol' Wilson things. Oh, don't mind us, we're just humble Wilson, content with our leather balls-n-laces and tennis rackets and baseball gloves while you make your "Hyper Dunks" and "Foam Posites." Sure, they're owned by a Finnish multinational, but who isn't these days?
Anyway, as Albert Breer explains, the NFL and its aesthetically-challenged pals from Nike are coming for Wilson and its old-fashioned balls:
The NFL has distributed balls with synthetic laces, as opposed to the traditional leather ones, to teams to practice with this week and use in this weekend's preseason games. NFL spokesman Michael Signora said that the choice of which footballs to use in practices and games this week remains up to the teams themselves.
A number of active, Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks already have lodged complaints about the newer balls to the NFLPA, claiming they can cause micro-cuts and alter a passer's throwing motion. There is some concern among the quarterbacks that this is the first step in implementing the synthetic-lace balls full-time.
One union source pointed out that this could open the door for Nike, a prominent football distributer at the college and high school levels, to make a run at rights that have been held by Wilson for decades.
Rubber laces are lame and phony. Then again, so are the backward swooshes. And they're everywhere now.