​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. 

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. 

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.