We originally entered the sporting goods world by producing football gear in the early 1930s. This included footballs, leather helmets, and shoulder pads made with “strap” leather. Already making small leather goods, the Nokona craftsmen were skilled in leather work, so adding football equipment to the line came easily.
Nokona is famous for baseball, but football is an important part of our near 100-year history
In 1935, Nokona was approached by Texas college coaches
…to create a new type of football that could be used for passing, as they were experimenting with the forward pass. Their star players were breaking records, but their ball was fat and rounded. They were searching for a new, more pointed shape that would create more speed, distance, and a smooth, rotating flight when passed or kicked. Nokona’s owner, Bob Storey, developed a football that was slightly longer, but thinner through the middle, and easier to pass with its aerodynamic shape.
Interestingly, in those days, home teams provided the footballs
Teams that favored a running game preferred the stubbier, rugby type ball, whereas passing teams preferred Storey’s new “passing ball.” In 1939, the NCAA developed a standardized template, to ensure that all footballs were made to one shape. For his contributions to this process and for other innovations, Bob Storey was inducted into the National Sporting Goods Hall of Fame in 1982.
Nokona was the first to produce these more tapered footballs
…the standard ball on the gridiron. Made with our legendary leather, Nokona is reintroducing this American-made football, blending our rich history in American sports with modern styling.