What is the Size of an American Football?

The American football is also known as the pigskin. The name pigskin was derived from the fact that back in the day players used inflated pig bladders as a crude type of ball for this game. Of course, nowadays, you don’t have to gut a pig to enjoy this sport. The modern day football we use today is designed by engineers according to exact specifications.

Although the inflated pig bladders were relatively durable, the folks who played the game covered the thing in leather for added padding and protection. The skin covering the pig bladder was then stitched together using laces. This is primarily why there are laces in today’s football even though it isn’t really necessary. The laces on the modern version of this ball serve to provide a better grip.


Of course, there are variants of the old football that athletes and enthusiasts use today. For instance, Australian football and rugby use a ball that is quite frankly a bit similar but is a bit rounded in the ends. American and Canadian football on the other hand has the same egg-shaped ball only that the ends are more pointed.

When it comes to game play, there are a few variations in the rules but the general idea behind each game is quite similar. It should be noted that the exact size and dimensions of American football is determined by specific game regulations. The same is true for each of the other game variants.

Pointed Egg Shape

Production methods of rubber balls eventually got better and the ends of the football became more pointed than ever. It is now easier to blow air into these new egg shaped balls. More leagues later promoted the forward pass thus retaining and further defining the shape of the football. The shape of the American football has been retained to promote this style of play and the ability to grip the ball with only one hand.

Current Dimensions

The dimensions of today’s football are as follows. It has a length of 11″ to 11 1/2″ through the axis. Its circumference at the middle measures 28″ to 28 1/2″. The circumference at the pointed ends is 20 3/4″ to 21 1/4″. The modern football weighs 14 to 15 ounces. These are the official dimensions of today’s football as defined by the NCAA and NFL.

Given the shape of the American football, we can say that it is not designed to be caught after it bounces off the ground. In case of a fumble, your coaches will generally yell out for you to jump on the ball instead of trying to catch it.

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