ADA — It’s been a few weeks since the Super Bowl, the crowning event of the National Football League season and of the company that produces the footballs for that game and for all NFL games. But there’s no sign of any afterglow or post-season letdown at the Wilson Sporting Goods Football Factory in Ada.
No, it’s business as usual for the 130 employees at the plant, who’ve been here since 7 a.m. cutting, stamping, lining, sewing, turning, lacing, inflating and packing footballs.
“Now, all of a sudden, we’ve got a lot of orders for more Super Bowl balls, championship balls, specialty balls,” said plant controller Greg Miller. About 9,000 Super Bowl balls and 3,000 Championship balls will move from here to store shelves in the next four weeks, he said.
Every Monday, cow hides are delivered. Every morning, at 8 a.m., there’s a production meeting. Every day, 3,000 footballs are made here by hand in a process that defies automation.
Anita Clemons, 50, sits near the end of the production line with a championship ball in her lap. One of the ball’s four lozenge-shaped panels is colored gold and features the horse-head logo of the Denver Broncos. They beat the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, to become the 2016 Super Bowl 50 champs.
“I clean ‘em up a bit,” she said, as she used a pair of pliers to straighten out a wayward lace.
“This isn’t a job where you press a button, and a football is made,” said Miller. “It’s hands-on. It’s a craft. Everyone on this floor’s got a hand in making the best football in America.”
Reach Amy Eddings at 567-242-0379 or Twitter, @lima_eddings.