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A long time ago, a football was made out of a pig's bladder. Nowadays, they're high tech pieces of equipment that are designed to be precision made, lightweight, durable and multi-sided pieces of modern ingenuity.

A football has four major components: the cover, stitching, the lining and the bladder. These days, the outer part, or the cover of a football, is made of synthetic leather. In the 'old days', the cover of the football used to be made of full-grain leather, but that material absorbed too much water and the football grew too heavy. The synthetic leather that a football is made from today are lightweight and water resistant. 

Each football is made up of 32 separate pieces, though some designs use less and some use more. The 32-sided football is the most common and is used in professional soccer games around the world. Here's where a good head for math comes in. A football is made up of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal pieces. The pieces on the football bulge out because of the amount of air pressure inside the ball. If fewer pieces are used to construct a football, the ball tends to curve more when airborne, because it's less stable.

The pieces on a football can be stitched or glued together, but the best footballs are stitched by hand, which gives the football a stronger, tighter seam. These hand stitched footballs are more expensive than those that are machine stitched, but they're well worth the extra dollars. The cheaper football choices are glued, and these footballs are commonly used for practice sessions.

A lining is found beneath the cover of a football, and in the more expensive football, several layers of this lining can be found. These layers give the football added form, bounce and strength. A football used in a professional match will have four or more layers of lining inside, while a practice football will have less.

The bladder of a football holds the air. These days, a bladder is not made from animals, but from latex or butyl. A butyl bladder holds air longer than a latex one, but latex bladders seem to provide a better surface feel in a football. 

A football is stitched together in a process that begins with cutting out the pieces piece by piece. Holes are punches around the edges of these pieces. Then the football pieces are turned inside out so that when finished, none of the stitches will show on the outside of the football. A different type of needle is used on these pieces. When finished, the football is turned right side out and the bladder is placed inside and inflated. One person might make four footballs a day. After completion, each football must go through multiple tests and graded for quality and performance. If a football needs to be used for a professional match, it must undergo other tests before it ends up on the playing field.
 

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