How Many Footballs Are Used In An NFL Game?

people, team, group-2569454.jpg

How Many Footballs Are Used In An NFL Game?

Each team uses around 12-13 footballs in an average NFL game. However, this number can vary depending on the weather conditions and the style of play. To give you an idea, more balls may be used if it is a cold day and the field is wet. Likewise, if a lot of passing happens during the game, more balls will likely be used as well.

How Do Teams Prepare The Footballs?

When it comes to preparing football for game day, NFL teams take various approaches. Some teams prefer to inflate their balls to the lower end of the NFL’s specified range of 12.5-13.5 PSI, while others like to err on the side of caution and inflate them to the upper end.

Still, other teams opt to use different types of balls for different situations – for example, some might use softer balls during inclement weather games or practices.

Inspection Process By The NFL

Regardless of which philosophy a team follows, there are a few basics that all teams must do to get their footballs ready for action. To start, each ball must be inspected for any irregularities or damage that could affect its performance on the field. Once the balls have been cleared for use, they are inflated to the desired PSI using a pump or an air compressor.

After the balls have been inflated, they are turned over to the team’s equipment staff, who will apply any final touches – such as putting the team’s logo on the ball or adding Grip-n-Go powder to help players get a better grip on the ball. Once the balls have been prepped, they can be used in practice or a game.

Football Controversy: Deflategate

The controversy began when the Indianapolis Colts accused the Patriots of using under-inflated footballs during their AFC Championship game on January 18th, 2015. According to NFL rules, all footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI (as we said above) or pounds per square inch.

After testing 11 of 12 balls used by the Patriots during the game, it was discovered that they were all around two PSI lower than what is allowed. This caused controversy throughout NFL circles and social media.

Fallout Of The Scandal

The fallout from this discovery was swift and severe; NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell appointed attorney Ted Wells to lead an investigation into what had happened and whether or not it was intentional.

After months of deliberation, Wells concluded that “it is more probable than not” that Tom Brady (the Patriots quarterback) knew about ball deflation and had at least general awareness of improper activities by team personnel involving game balls.

As a result, Brady was suspended for four games without pay and fined $1 million for his role in the scandal. He appealed this ruling, but a federal judge upheld it in July 2016 after multiple court appearances.

Repercussions Of The Scandal

The fallout from this incident extended far beyond Tom Brady’s suspension; many took it as evidence of systemic cheating within the organization and accused Robert Kraft (owner of the Patriots) of running an unethical franchise with little regard for league regulations or fairness towards opponents.

Furthermore, some went so far as to suggest that Goodell had been too lenient on both Kraft and Brady due to their status within league circles—a thought further compounded when Goodell refused to recuse himself from hearing Brady’s appeal despite obvious conflicts of interest due to his involvement in initially punishing him.


As you can probably see, having access to official NFL footballs is essential for providing a safe playing environment for athletes and ensuring consistent gameplay throughout each game. While 12-13 may seem like a lot of balls for one event, both teams must have access to adequately inflated balls throughout a game without having any advantages. 

With proper regulation in place and teams investing in high-quality resources – the number of footballs used in an NFL game ensures that all participants remain safe while still providing entertaining content for viewers.