US 3481602 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 2, 1969 J. w. TATTER FOOTBALL KICKING DEVICE Filed Jan. '5, 1967 /pgr-f u ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,481,602 FOOTBALL KICKING DEVICE John W. Tatter, Akron, Ohio, assignor to The General Tire & Rubber Company, a corporation of Ohio Filed Jan. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 607,477 Int. Cl. A63b 69/00 US. Cl. 273-55 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is useful in the sport of football and pertains to a novel kicking tee provided with pivotally connected legs to vary the height at which the ball is placed for kicking, and a pair of arms which can be folded out of the way when not needed or, alternatively, can be used for supporting the football in an up-right position. This tee can be used for kick-offs as well as field goal attempts and attempted conversions after touchdown.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention The game of football is played by two teams using an inflatable ball of generally oval shape, made out of leather, rubber or the like. The game is played on a generally rectangular field and the object of the game is to move the ball the entire length of the field and across the goal line of the other team. Goal posts are set up on each goal line, and these consist of a pair of parallel vertical bars (called the uprights) joined 10 feet above the ground by a cross bar. The game is commenced by one team kicking the football to the other team which then attempts, by a series of maneuvers and the use of strategy, to move the football across the goal line of the other team. The kick-01f is accomplished by placing the football generally in an up-right position with its larger axis tilted at a slight angle from the vertical and then having one member of the team approach and kick the ball.
During the course of the game, the team in possession of the ball may attempt to kick the ball between the uprights and above the cross bar of the opponents goal posts; and if successful, can score points in this manner. If the team makes a touchdown, it scores six points and is given a chance to score an additional point, called a point-after-touchdown, by kicking the ball between the uprights. Alternatively, a team can score three points in lieu of a touchdown by successfully kicking the ball between the uprights of the goal posts from any place on the playing field, this being referred to as a field goal. In either instance, the ball is held in kicking position by one player while another attempts to accurately kick it. The opposing team tries to prevent the scoring by physically blocking the kick or by other means.
Description of the prior art It is a common practice, during the kick-off, to utilize a kicking tee fabricated out of a material such as rubber and comprising a relatively flat base with a couple of vertical support members. The ball is placed on the base and rests against the support members in the proper position for kicking. When attempting field goals, or points-after-touchdown, a fiat slab of rubber or the like is often placed upon the ground and the football is placed in kicking position on 3,481,602 Patented Dec. 2, 1969 ice tion, distance to be kicked, rain, etc. Thus, it is a common practice for most football teams to have two or more kicking tees of 'varying sizes and dimensions and which are useful under diverse circumstances and conditions. This can lead to confusion and unnecessary duplicity of equipment. Furthermore, it constitutes an unnecessary added expense.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a kicking device including a base upon which the football is placed and is provided with means for varying the elevation of the base above the ground. Furthermore, it preferably includes means for supporting the ball in the proper kicking position.
One of the objects of this invention is to provide a kicking device which will replace two or three separate devices Another object is to provide a football kicking tee with more versatility than those which have been available heretofore.
Yet another object is to provide a kicking tee which is economical and simple to construct and yet is rugged and long lasting.
These and other objects which will become readily apparent are accomplished in the manner to be hereinafter described, with particular reference to the attached draw- 1ngs.
DRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a kicking tee of the present invention elevated on its legs and with a pair of arms raised in football supporting position;
1 FIGURE 2 is a side view of the tee supported on its egs;
FIGURE 3 is a side view of the tee with a football supported thereon and with the legs folded under so that the tee rests on its base;
FIGURE 4 is a side view of the tee as it would typically be used for place-kicking, with the arms folded down against the base and with portions cut away for clarity;
FIGURE 5 is a view, partially in cross section, taken along lines 5-5 of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 6 is an exploded partial end view of the tee showing one of the ball support arms and a part of one of the legs ready for assembly.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring now to FIGURE 1, there is shown a kicking tee having a generally planar base 2 including a flat upper surface 4, a pair of beveled leading edges 6, 8 terminating in a point 10, a pair of generally parallel sides 12 and a trailing edge 14 containing a pair of rearwardly extending projections 16. These projections 16 and the shape of the leading edge all cooperate to form an arrow or pointer extending generally in the direction in which the ball is intended to be kicked. A ribbed groove 18 is formed in the upper surface of the base and tapers downwardly from the front of the tee to the back thereof. A plurality of ribs 20 extend generally laterally of the tee and gradually increase in size from front to back. Their purpose is to provide a rough surface to preclude the ball from slipping when placed on the tee.
A pair of legs 22, 24 are pivotally associated with the base 2 and, as shown, are in ground contacting position to elevate the tee off the ground. A pair of ball support arms 26 are pivotally attached to the base and are adapted to swing from the upright position as shown in FIGURE 1 down into the recess 28 molded or otherwise formed in the base.
In FIGURES 2 and 3, it can be seen that the portion 29 of the base 2 between the legs 22, 24 is relieved so 3 that when the legs are folded, as shown in FIGURE 3, they will be flush with the bottom of the base.
FIGURES 2 through 4 illustrate the versatility of the football kicking device of the present invention by showing three of the several positions in which the device can be placed for purposes of supporting the ball prior to kicking. FIGURES 2 and 3 show the device as used to support the ball without any external aid. FIGURE 4 shows this novel device, with the legs 22, 24 and the arms 26 folded away from their position of utility to thereby present a relatively flat bottom surface and a planar top surface 4. One end of the ball can then be placed in kicking position on the tee by one player while another player attempts to kick the ball for a field goal, point after touchdown, or the like.
It will be noted that the legs, when in ground contacting position as in FIGURE 2, do not form right angles with the ground, but instead are spread slightly so as to impart stability to the tee. A front shoulder 31 and a rear shoulder 33 are molded or otherwise provided in the base to limit the movement of these legs. It should be noted that the rear shoulder also serves as limiting means for the ball support arms when in their raised position.
It should furthermore be noted that the kicking tee can be supported using only the front legs if it is desired to kick the ball high in the air, or alternatively on only the back leg for low kicks, again with or without the ball support arms 26 in place.
FIGURES 5 and 6 show the general shape of the back leg 22 and the ball support arms 26 and in addition shows how these elements are assembled onto and held in place on the base 2. The back leg 22 is generally channel shaped with a ground contacting edge 32 forming the base of the channel and a pair of sides 34 projecting up therefrom, each terminating in a curved portion 36 (in FIGURE 1). A small peg 38 projects from each side, the two pegs being axially aligned and extending toward one another.
The front leg is typically the same shape as the back leg, but not as wide, and the curved portion 40 is slightly smaller than its counterpart 36 of the hack leg and is adapted to be received in a conforming recess 42 in the bottom of the base 4. Each side of the front leg 24 is provided with a peg which is adapted to fit into an appropriate annulus 44 in the recess 42 at either side of the base.
Referring again to FIGURES 5 and 6, it should be noted that each of the ball support arms 26 is slightly tapered and is provided with a beveled surface 40 against which the football rests. The other end 50 of the arm is generally circular in shape and is provided with" a peg 54 and a recess 52, adapted to receive the peg 38 of leg 22. The peg 54 is adapted to fit into an annulus 56 molded or otherwise provided in the base 2.
The arms 26 and the back leg 22 are mounted on the base 2 by first positioning the two arms so that their respective pegs 54 are engaged in the two annuli 56 and can move freely from the vertical ball supporting position to the horizontal position in recess 28. The two sides 34 of the leg 22 are then spread apart so that the pegs 38 will engage their respective recesses 52. The sides are then released and allowed to return to their normal position parallel to one another to retain the arms and the leg in position so that they will not be dislodged during normal handling and abuse of the kicking tee. The front legs are attached to the base by merely spreading the two sides apart and inserting the pegs 44 into fl'ie appropriate holes.
As seen in FIGURE 5, the portion 45 of the leg 22 opposite the ground contacting edge 32 is curved slightly to provide clearance between it and the bottom 5 of the base 2. This clearance permits the use of a narrow guide strip which can be attached to the underside of the kicking tee and can be extended back therefrom along the ground to serve as a kicking aid during practice sessions.
It is obvious that the thickness of the base and the length of the legs will determine the first and second kicking heights for the ball. Typically, the base is molded to a thickness of about one inch, which corresponds to the distance between the ball and the ground when the legs are folded against the base in their nonsupport position. The legs can be designed so as to elevate the base, for example one inch off of the ground, thereby providing a two inch elevation for the ball. It has been found that by projecting at least one and one-half inch above the top surface of the tee, the arms will support the ball in an upright position on a tee.
Although the drawings represent a preferred embodiment of the invention, many changes in structure and design can be made without deviating from the scope of the present invention. For example, the legs and arms can be attached to the base by the use of appropriate bolts, rivets or other attaching means. Furthermore, the shape of the various components, particularly the base, can be changed without destroying the functionality and versatility of the device. The sides, direction, spacing and design of the ribs on the top surface of the base can be varied or omitted as desired. These ribs can extend diagonally across the groove, or can be in the shape of a chevron or the like. They can all be the same size if desired, instead of gradually increasing in amplitude from front to back. The groove, instead of being flat and tapering from front to back, can be curved, with or without a taper, or can be omitted completely. The overall profile of the tee can be varied by elimination of the pointed leading edge and the rearwardly extending guide means. Other dimensional changes can be made as well. For example, four legs could be used in place of two as shown, or these two legs can each be modified to provide two spaced apart ground contacting points instead of a continuous edge.
This device can be fabricated from any one of a numberof materials such as plasticized polyvinyl chloride, chlorosulfonated polyethylene or a high durometer rubber such as natural rubber, butyl rubber, ethylene propylene terpolymer, or SBR. Furthermore, the different components can, if desired, be made out of different materials. Typically, the components of this tee could be produced by compression or injection molding according to techniques well known in the industry.
These and other changes can be made without deviating from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.
1. A football kicking device including:
(a) a base having an upper surface upon which a football is placed (b) support means cooperating with said base and adapted to pivot between a base supporting and a base non-supporting position to vary the distance between said upper surface of the base and the ground, and
(c) means to support the football in a kicking position on said upper surface, said means comprising a pair of arms adapted to pivot between an up-right position for support of said football and a nonsupporting position.
2. The device according to claim 1 wherein said support means for the base iscomposed of at least two legs pivotally attached to the base.
3. A device according to claim 1 wherein the base is provided with recesses to receive said arms and legs when in their nonsuporting positions.
4. A device according to claim 3 wherein the base is further provided with abutment means for the legs when in their base supporting position and for the arms when in their ball supporting position.
5. A football kicking tee fabricated from a suitable polymer and comprising:
(a) resilient base having a bottom surface adapted to rest on the ground in a first position, and a top surface generally parallel thereto, and further defined by a pair of generally parallel sides, forward and rearward extending portions, and a tapered groove faces which intersect at a point and said rearward extendformed in said top surface between said parallel sides ing portion comprises a pair of projections which coopand provided with a plurality of parallel ribs, the crate with said point to define a directional guide. rearward extending portion containing a pair of kick- 8. A football kicking tee including:
ing guide means extending rearwardly from said (a) a generally planar base having a top, football congroove and on either side thereof, the bottom surface 5 taeting surface, provided with a pluralit of ribs and of said base relieved to form a recess and the top surforward and rearward portions joined by generally face provided with a pair of recesses along the sides parallel sides containing recesses therein, said base thereof and a pair of annular cavities on either side adapted torest upon the ground in a first ball supof said base, one located toward said forward ex port position, and
tending portion and one located toward said rearward extending portion, (b) base support means comprising a front support and (b) leg means pivotally joined to said base and disposed in said recesses when the tee is in the first support position and pivoted out of the recesses in ground contacting position to elevate the base in a second ball support position.
9. The tee ofclaim 8 wherein said leg means comprise a front leg and-a back leg joined respectively to the forward and rearwardkportions of the base, each leg being generally channel shaped and composed of a pair of generally parallel spaced-apart sides joined together by a base adapted to contact-the ground when the tee is in its second ball support position; each of said sides terminating in a curved portion having a peg projecting therefrom extending toward the corresponding peg projecting from the other side and'the base of the tee containing holes to receive these pegs.
10. The tee ofclaim 9 further including a pair of elongated arms pivotally joined at one end of the base of the tee and which in an upright position, serve to support the football in kicking position and which, when not in use fold into recesses in the base of the tee.
a back support, each defined by a ground contacting edge, substantially the same width as that of the base, a pair of sides extending away from said edge, generally parallel to one another, and terminating in a curved portion, each such portion provided with a circular pin generally parallel with said ground contacting edge, said pins substantially axially aligned with and directed toward one another, said support means adapted to be received in the recess in the bottom surface of said base, and
(c) a pair of generally elongated ball support arms,
one end of each arm terminating in a curved portion between two parallel surfaces and provided with a pin receiving annulus extending inwardly from one of said surfaces and a circular pin coaxial therewith and projecting out from the second of said surfaces, each of said pins adapted to pivotally engage one of the rearwardly positioned annuli on the base and to receive one of the pins on said back support whereby said arms are held in place said ball support arms adapted to fit into said recesses on the top surface References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS of said base support means when not in use. 6. The kicking tee according to claim 5 further characganuvalkenburg 273 210 terized by independent movement of said front support, 3309087 3/1967 63%;};
said back support and said ball positioning arms.
7. The tee according to claim 6 wherein said forward extending portion is composed of a pair of leading sur- 4