US 3425693 A
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Feb. 4, 1969 F. T. MURRAY 3,425,693
FOOTBALL Filed Aug. 2. 1965 l/VVE/WUA? FRHNOIST. MURRAY United States Patent 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A football having delineated thereon adjacent the pointed end thereof which presents toward the ground when the ball is positioned for a placement kick a target zone to be struck by the toe of the kicker. This target zone is of generally triangular shape disposed symmetrically with reference to a longitudinally extending median plane of the ball. The base of the triangle extends substantially orthogonally with respect to said median plane of the ball and is spaced from the pointed end of the ball a distance approximately equal to one-third the end-to-end length of the ball as measured along its longitudinall curved surface, while the vertex opposite said base is spaced from said pointed end a distance approximately equal to onesixth said curved length of the ball. The said base of the triangular target zone is approximately one-half that altitude of the triangle which lies in the said longitudinally extending median plane of the ball. Desirably, the target zone is marginally defined by an area of color contrasting with that of the zone itself. The football may be provided with a target zone as described at either one or both ends thereof.
This invention relates generally to the art of kicking a football and more particularly to the provision of a football having markings thereon which effectively delineate zones of contact of the toe of the kicking shoe with the football for most effectively and accurately executing a placement kick of the desired trajectory and distance.
It is of course well known that while a long distance kick from placement should desirably have a trajectory which need be only sufficiently high to escape blocking of the ball by the onrushing players of the opposing team, in the case of a kick where distance is not of the essence it may have a high trajectory.
However, the requirements for placement of the ball in proper position for an effective placement kick, as on kick-off, or for scoring a field goal, are not generally understood and often as not the ball is held in such manner that even the most expert kicker is unable to obtain the desired objective despite the fact that his timing is correct and he is in proper balance to execute the kick.
With the foregoing in mind, it is an object of the present invention to provide a football with markings thereon visible both to the ball-holder and to the kicker by means of which, in the first instance, proper positioning of the ball for the desired placement kick is insured and, in the second instance, affords the kicker with a well-defined target on the ball to be struck by the toe of the kicker.
A further and important object of the invention is to provide a fooball having readily discernible and well-defined target areas marked thereon for guidance not only of the kicker in practicing and thereby developing skill and expertness in the execution of placement kicks for scoring field goals but also of the ball-holder in practicing and developing the requisite ability to quickly place the ball in correct position for the placement kick demanded.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, it being understood that the invention consists in the combination, construction, location and relative arrangement of the element of the invention as described in the 3,425,693 Patented Feb. 4, 1969 following specification, as shown in the accompanying drawings and as finally pointed out in the appended claims.
In the said accompanying drawings:
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of the target-marked portion of a football embodying the principles of the present invention; and
FIGURES 2 to 4 are side elevational views respectively illustrating the principles involved in use of the football of the present invention.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, it will be observed that the football 10 shown therein is of the conventional form and shape as used in the game of football, comprising an inflated rubber bladder enclosed within a cover of leather, rubber or other regulation material generally formed of four panels joined together by seams disposed in the orthogonally related longitudinally extending median planes of the ball, one of said seams being centrally interrupted to provide an opening through which the bladder may be inserted, which opening is defined by separable edges suitably secured together by a lacing 11. Normally, in kicking the ball its laced surface faces away from the kicking foot and consequently, for purposes of describing the present invention, the laced surface of the ball may be considered as the top of the ball as distinguished from its opposite or bottom surface which is struck by the toe of the kicker in executing the desired placement kick.
As most clearly appears in FIGURE 1, the bottom or back surface of the football is provided with a pair of target zones or areas 12-12 of generally triangular form which are disposed in spaced relation longitudinally along the back seam 13. The target zones 12-12 are each disposed symmetrically relatively to the longitudinally extending back seam 13 with their apices 14 in coincidence with said seam and presenting respectively toward the opposite pointed ends of the ball. Thus, no matter which end of the ball is supported upon the ground for a placement kick, it is provided adjacent its grounded end with a target zone to be struck by the toe of the kicker.
It has been found that the optimum location for each of the target zones 1212 is within the inner half of the outer one-third portion of the ball as measured lengthwise along the back seam 13 with the apex of the zone base portions 15 of the longitudinally spaced zones separated from one another by the middle one-third portion of the ball. Thus, each target zone is of an apex-to-base length or altitude T approximately equal to onesixth the overall length L of the curved surface of the ball as measured along the seam 13. The optimum width of the base 15 of the triangular zone is approximately one half of the altitude T of the triangle or approximately one-fourteenth of the girth circumference of the ball as measured along a circle which is coincident with the base line of the triangle.
Marginally surrounding each of the target zones 1212 a suitably delineated area 16 which may be of contrasting color with respect to that of the target zone 12 so that both the target zone and the said marginal area are clearly distinguishable one from the other. It will be noted that while the marginal area 16 is also of generally triangular shape in outline and the apex thereof is coincident with the apex 14 of the embraced target zone the said marginal area progressively increases in width to a greater degree than does the target zone and extends somewhat beyond the target zone base line 15 to thereby provide upon each side of the target zone a marginal area of contrasting color which gradually increases in width from the target zone apex 14 to a point beyond the target zone base 15.
The area 16 which thus marginally surrounds the target zone 12 serves to clearly delineate the target zone as that which alone should be struck by the kicker for effective and correct execution of a placement kick and to indicate to the kicker that should his kicking toe strike the ball at any point within the marginal area 16 the re sulting kick will not be as desired. Thus, the area 16 marginally embracing the target zone 12 may be considered as warning indicia for directing the kicker to make sure that his kicking toe strikes the ball at some point within the target zone 12 and not outside of it, assuming, of course, that the ball is held with the target zone directly facing the kicker and with its longitudinal axis disposed in a vertical plane coincident with the desired line of flight of the ball.
The ball holder may hold the ball as just mentioned but with its longitudinal axis at any angle of from 60 to 90 with respect to the ground. FIGURE 2 shows the ball being held perpendicular to the ground, FIGURE 3 shows it held with its longitudinal axis at an angle of 75 with the ground, and FIGURE 4 shows it held at an angle of 60 with the ground, in each instance with the axis of the ball in a vertical plane and with its target zone facing directly toward the kicker so that it is visible to the latter.
Each target zone 12 may be considered as having three striking areas, namely, a bottom area designated A, a central area designated B and a top area designated C. The following chart indicates generally the results obtained when the ball is struck by the kicking foot at a point in each of these striking areas depending upon the angle at which the ball is held relatively to the ground:
' .4) No good. No good. B 60 (Fig. 4) Long Low. 60 (Fig. Long+ Medium.
It will be noted from the foregoing chart, that by directing his kicking toe to strike the ball within the limited area of the target zone 12, the kicker will achieve the desired objective, namely, a placement kick which is directionally correct and of the desired trajectory, assuming, of course, proper timing and balance on the part of the kicker.
As the chart indicates, impact of the kickers toe at any point within the target zone 12 will result in a kick of a certain trajectory which varies in accordance with the angle of tilt of the ball between 60 and 90 degrees relatively to the ground and the particular point within the target zone that the ball is struck. The sole exception is that when the ball is inclined into its permissible extreme tilted position of 60 degrees, the area A of the target zone is so close to the ground that it is virtually impossible for the kicker to strike such area at such angle of tilt and any attempt to do so should, of course, be avoided. Also, the kicker should practice to avoid striking the ball in or outside of the area 16 marginally surrounding the target zone 12, which area 16 is clearly delineated and distinguishable from the target zone for the purpose of indicating that any impact of the kicking toe with the ball outside of the target zone 12 will result in a faulty kick.
By providing the football with target zones as above described and with surrounding danger zones affording the kicker visual indication of those areas of the ball which should not be struck, it may be employed most effectively in practice toward developing and achieving a high degree of skill in accurately executing placement kicks and in learning the principles involved for producing a placement kick of the trajectory necessary for scoring field goals and for accurately placing the kick where desired, as on kick-off. Also, such marking of the ball in accordance with the present invention enables the holder of the ball for a placement kick to understand and learn the fundamentals of any by practice achieve a high degree of skill in properly orienting and angling the ball for a scoring field goal kicking from points varying in distance from the goal post.
While the present invention has been shown as applied to a football of conventional construction having an inflatable inner bladder enclosed within a seamed cover, it will be understood that the principles of the invention are applicable to footballs made in simulation of the conventional football, such as those which are molded or otherwise formed into prolate spheroidal shape. Further, it will be understood that the target zones hereinbefore described may be other than of the triangular shape shown as, for example, parabolic or semi-circular shapes, and that such zones may be located on any surface portion of the ball so long as they are symmetrically disposed with reference to a longitudinally extending median plane of the ball and are spaced apart for respective location in the end regions of the ball as above described so that a target zone is available for guidance of the kicker regardless of which end of the ball is held grounded by the ball-holder.
Accordingly, it is understood that the present invention is suspectible of various changes and modifications which may be made from time to time without departing from the general principles or rear spirit thereof and it is intended, therefore, to claim the same broadly, as well as specifically, as indicated by the appended claims.
What is claimed to be new and useful is:
1. A football having delineated thereon adjacent one pointed end thereof a target zone to be struck by the toe of a football kicker when executing a placement kick, said target zone being of progressively increasing width from a vertex point located inwardly of said one pointed end of the ball a distance approximately equal to one-sixth the end-to-end length of the ball as measured along its longitudinally curved surface to a base line extending transversely of the longitudinal axis of the ball and located inwardly of said one pointed end of the ball a distance approximately equal to one third said end-to-end length of the ball so as to form a generally triangularly shaped target zone, said target zone being disposed symmetrically with reference to a longitudinally extending median plane of the football, the base width of said generally triangularly shaped target zone being approximately equal to one-half the altitude thereof as measured along said end-to-end length of the ball, said target zone being marginally defined by a background area of a color contrasting width the color of said zone so that it is clearly and readily distinguishable on said football.
2. In a football as defined in claim 1 wherein said background area is symmetrically disposed with reference to the center line of said target zone and to a longitudinally extending median plane of the football and is of generally triangular shape having a vertex point coincident with the vertex point of said target zone.
3. In a football as defined in claim 1 wherein a second target zone is delineated thereon adjacent the other pointed end thereof, and said second target zone has substantially the same shape and dimensions as said first mentioned target zone, and the orientation and spacing of said second target zone relative to said other pointed end is substantially the same as the orientation and spacing of said first mentioned target zone relative to said one pointed end so that two similar target zones are presented and one target zone is available for use regardless of 5 6 which end of the football is held grounded for a place- 2,330,951 10/ 1943 Burmester et a1. ment kick. 2,448,731 9/ 194 8 Park.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS GEORGE J. MARLO, Przmary Exammer.
1,862,708 6/1932 Rosenberg 273213 5 U8. C1. X.R.
2,011,760 8/1935 Gallinant. 27.