There are eight laces on an NFL football though these small laces are generally referred to as cross stitches.
Technically speaking the long piece of plastic that runs parallel to the seam of the ball is the lace. But when football fans are asking how many laces are on a football one is not the answer they are looking for.
How many laces on a high school football?
A high school football must have either eight or twelve laces that are evenly spread throughout the football according to the NFHS rulebook.
The laces on a high school must end within 3 and 3/4 inches from each end of the ball. In other words, the laces must be in the middle of the ball with room to spare on either end.
Additionally, high school football also must have white stripes. These white stripes must be located 3 to 3 and 1/4 inches from the end of the ball.
The white stripes will only be on two panels of the ball and cannot feature logos or decorations.
A high school football must weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.
Why do footballs have laces?
Now that you know NFL footballs have eight laces and high school footballs have eight to twelve laces you may be wondering what the purpose of these laces is.
Below we are going to break down some of the main reasons there are laces on a football.
Keeping the ball together
The original reason that there are laces on a football was to keep the ball together. When football first come about the quality of the balls was nowhere near what we see today.
In order to keep this leather ball in shape sturdy stitching was applied to the ball. This stitching made sure the ball was able to stay in one piece while it was kicked and thrown about the field.
This was the original reason that laces on a football are so noticeable.
The creation of the forward pass
Before the forward pass football was an incredibly violent game and resulted in many injuries and deaths. Since there were no passing plays all players on the field would collide with one another on nearly every play.
In order to fix this issue, college football teams got together. What they settled on was the inclusion of the forward pass into the game.
It did not take off right away as teams struggled to find ways to effectively move the ball downfield via these passes.
Eventually, Eddie Cochems realized that the best way to grip and throw the football was via the laces.
By throwing with the laces players were able to get a better grip on the ball. On top of that, they found they were able to generate a spiral.
A spiral in football occurs when the balls spin as it cuts through the air. This makes the pass travel further as well as makes it easier to catch for the receivers.
This creation of the forward pass had all of a sudden put some value on the laces on a football. Instead of getting rid of the bulky laces as technology advanced the laces became a major part of the football.
Nowadays you will find that almost every quarterback will get a good grip on the laces before throwing the ball.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how many laces are on a football. If you want to learn more about football equipment you can check out our article covering knee pads in football or why players wear bands on their arms.