A football has eight laces, although they are often referred to as cross stitches.
One lace is not the answer football fans want when they ask how many laces are on a football. A lace is technically the long piece of plastic that runs parallel to the seam of the ball.
How many Laces are on a high School Football?
According to NFHS rules, high school footballs must have eight or twelve laces evenly distributed throughout.
There must be room on either end of the laces on a high school ball for them to end within 3 and 3/4 inches.
Also, high school football balls must have white stripes located 3 to 3 and 1/4 inches from the end.
Neither logos nor decorations will be allowed on the white stripes.
The weight of a high school football must be between 14 and 15 ounces.
Why do Footballs have Laces?
You may be wondering what the purpose of these laces is now that you know NFL footballs have eight laces and high school footballs have eight to twelve laces.
A football has laces for a variety of reasons, which we will discuss below.
Keeping the Ball Together
A football’s laces were originally designed to keep the ball together. When football first began, balls were far from the quality we see today.
A sturdy stitching was applied to the ball to ensure that it would stay in one piece while it was kicked and thrown.
It was for this reason that laces on a football are so visible in the first place.
The Creation of the Forward Pass
As a result of no passing plays before the forward pass, all players on the field collided with one another nearly every play before the forward pass was invented.
Several college football teams got together in order to resolve this issue. They decided to include the forward pass in the game.
As teams struggled to effectively move the ball downfield via these passes, it did not take off right away.
Eddie Cochems eventually realized he could grip and throw the football more effectively with the laces.
Players found that they were able to generate a spiral by throwing with the laces, which allowed them to get a better grip on the ball.
In football, a spiral occurs when the ball spins as it travels through the air, making it easier to catch for the receivers.
The invention of the forward pass brought a heightened value to the laces on a football. As technology advanced, the laces remained a major part of footballs, rather than being eliminated.
Before throwing the ball, most quarterbacks secure their grip on the laces.
If you want to learn more about football equipment, check out our article about knee pads in football or why players wear bands on their arms.