Do you ever name inanimate objects? You're not alone. Even star athletes give nicknames to pieces of equipment they feel are lucky.
As far as superstition runs, naming an inanimate object can make a difficult job feel a bit easier or more comfortable to complete. The NFL's official football was actually given a nickname many years ago, but it's something not many NFL fans are aware of.
Fact for the day.... The official game ball of the National Football League is stamped with the nickname "The Duke" in honor of Wellington Mara, the longtime owner of the New York Giants, who was named after the Duke of Wellington. Wilson Sporting Goods, the manufacturer of the— Cati (@cati3910) January 27, 2019
Nickname stamped on NFL Footballs
From 1941-1969, the official NFL football was nicknamed "The Duke" after the son of Tim Mara, the founder of the New York Giants. Mara named his son Wellington, after the Duke of Wellington, and thus the league named the official ball after Wellington Mara.
This stemmed from a 1941 agreement between Wilson and the NFL, orchestrated by then-Chicago Bears owner George Halas. Tim Mara played a substantial role in getting the deal done and thus Halas suggested they name the ball after his son.
NFL ball since 1941, named the ball after Wellington Mara to reward his father Tim Mara for arranging the contract that made Wilson the official supplier of footballs to the NFL. The nickname was originally used from 1941 to until 1970. After Wellington Mara died in 2005,— Cati (@cati3910) January 27, 2019
What nickname is stamped on every NFL football?
From 1970-2006, the league abolished the nickname, which used to be sewn into the footballs, but it made its return after the '06 season. The ball is once again named 'The Duke' though it's printed in far smaller text than it used to be.