Football players have been calling footballs pigskins since the 1980s. The term was coined by Amos Stagg’s University of Chicago Maroons, the great football team of the era. At that time, footballs were made out of pig skin.
Footballs were originally made from pig bladders. It is easier to call them pigskins then pig bladders. They are now made from vulcanized rubber.
Early balls were made from a pig’s bladder, which was inflated by sticking a pipe in it, and blowing it up while it was still freshly removed from the pig. After drying, it was covered in layers of pigskin or cowhide. The surface of the ball today still mimics the natural condition of a pig’s skin once the hair is removed. Hair follicles on pigs grow in nearly triangular patterns, creating the pitting of the ball’s surface when the hairs are removed. Leather has replaced the pigskin, and an artificial rubber bladder has replaced the pig bladder. The name now is in tradition only.
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