US 3650051 A
A football player's accessory for attachment to the mid-length portion of the player's shoe and designed to spin the ball about its longitudinal axis as it is punted thereby dynamically stabilizing the ball and increasing its range and accuracy. The exterior of the accessory is roughened or otherwise contoured for non-skidding contact with the ball as the punter lofts it to initiate a punt.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Sass [451 Mar. 21, 1972 541 PUNTING ACCESSORY FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS SHOE  Inventor: William H. Sass, 5631 Coming Avenue,
LOs Angeies, Calif. 90056  Filed: June 8, 1970  App]. No.: 44,213
 U.S. Cl ..36/2.5 AG
[51 Int. Cl. ..A43b 00/00  Field of Search ..36/2.5 R, 2.5 AG, 1
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,525,165 8/1970 Randall ..36/2.5 AG
2,796,684 6/1957 Montgomery ..36/2.5 AG 3,191,321 6/1965 Brutting ..36/2.5 AG 1,677,370 7/1928 Roewade ..36/2.5 AG
Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson AttorneySellers and Brace  ABSTRACT A football players accessory for attachment to the mid-length portion of the player's shoe and designed to spin the ball about its longitudinal axis as it is punted thereby dynamically stabilizing the ball and increasing its range and accuracy. The exterior of the accessory is roughened or otherwise contoured for non-skidding contact with the ball as the punter lofts it to initiate a punt.
11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHARZI nan INVENTOR. W/LL/AM H- 5/455 a a. A 77'06A/6V5 PUNTING ACCESSORY FOR FOOTBALL PLAYER'S SHOE This invention relates to an athletic accessory and more particularly to an accessory readily attached to a football players shoe effective to spin the ball about its longitudinal axis as it is punted thereby dynamically stabilizing the ball in flight.
By this invention, there is provided a simple improvement in a football players shoe for greatly improving the accuracy, range and dynamic stability of a football when punted. It is well known that the performance characteristics of a punted ball vary widely and unpredictably despite the energy imparted to the ball by the punter. The results of a punt depend to a high degree on the skill of the punter, on the point of contact of the players foot with'the ball, and whether the thrust imparted to the ball is along the longer axis of the ball. If not, the ball is launched with the leading end skewed in one direction and the trailing edge end in the other with the result that the differentially acting air pressures can and often are effective to cause the ball to follow an erratic path. Even if the magnitude of the unbalanced condition is small, the ball is likely to tumble end over end and fall far short of its target area. Likewise an inaccurately launched punt can result in the ball taking a path to the right or to the left of the intended target area and fall outside and far short of its intended target point.
The foregoing and other undesirable and unpredictable results can be avoided by the present invention which comprises a simple accessory attachable to the players shoe and operating to spin the ball about its longitudinal axis as the punt is initiated and thereby imparting dynamic stability to the ball. As a result, the ball travels with high efficiency along an accurate and precise course and has very substantially greater range than would otherwise be achieved. The accessory comprises two flexible plaques one of which is much larger than the other and provided with a roughened or the like surface highly efficient in imparting spin to the ball as it is launched. The accessory may be built into the shoe or readily secured to the shoe in the particular area desired by an individual player. In a preferred embodiment the roughened surface comprises a series of sharp-edged ribs molded to the main body plaque and engageable with the face of the ball as it is punted.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide the midlength portion of a football player's shoe with a roughened surface effective to spin the ball about its major axis as it is punted to dynamically stabilize the ball in flight.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a simple, inexpensive accessory readily attached to a football player's shoe used in punting and designed to spin the ball as it is punted.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a flexible molded plaque of resilient material adapted to be stitched to one face of the kicking shoe of a football player and operating to dynamically stabilize the ball as it is punted.
These and other more specific objects will appear upon reading the following specification and claims and upon considering in connection therewith the attached drawing to which they relate.
Referring now to the drawing in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of one illustrative embodiment of the invention accessory attached to a player's shoe and showing in dot-and-dash lines the position of a football relative thereto in readiness for punting;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along lines 33 on FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a view of a second preferred embodiment showing the punting accessory incorporated in the shoe at the time of manufacture.
Referring initially more particularly to FIGS. 1-3, there is shown one preferred embodiment of the invention punting accessory, designated generally 10, secured in place on a football players shoe 11. Shoe 11 is of any suitable well known construction having a sole 12 equipped with the usual spikes l3 and provided with an upper 14 of customary construction. As here shown, accessory 10 comprises a major plaque 15 and a smaller or mounting strip 16 of suitably molded flexible elastomeric material, such as rubber or a soft flexible thermoplastic composition. Each of the parts 15,16 may include a reinforcing fabric layer if desired although this is not necessary. Plaque 15 is shaped generally in the manner illustrated in F IGS..1 and 2 and one longer edge is permanently anchored to the lower edge of the shoe upper, as by stitching 18. Similar stitching 19 serves to secure the remote lateral edge of mounting strip 16 to the shoe. To avoid stiffening the shoe or interfering with its free flexing, it is preferable to leave all areas of members 15 and 16 unattached to the shoe upper except along the lines of stitching 18,19.
The adjacent lateral edges 20, 21 of members 15,16 are releasably secured together, as by lacing 22 or by any other suitable fastener means readily opened and closed to permit removal of the shoe from the player's foot. As herein shown, lacing 22 is located laterally to one side of the customary shoe lacing in order that the roughened surface of plaque 15 may cover the entire area of the players shoe likely to come in contact with the ball during punting. Some players may prefer to install accessory 10 on the shoe with lacing 22 located further to the inner face of the shoe than shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this event, the player merely instructs a shoe repairman as to the precise area in which he wishes the accessory to be mounted.
As herein shown, the roughened surface of plaque 15 is provided by a series of sharp-edged ribs forming an integral part of the plaque as molded, the ribs being arranged in two rows 24,25 extending crosswise of the player's arch. Each of the ribs is provided with a sharp-edged crest 26. As shown, these ridges are elongated and extend lengthwise of the foot and parallel to the launching axis of football 27. However, it will be understood that the roughened surface may comprise a multiplicity of sharp edged protrusions, low-height bosses, or any of many other high friction non-skidding surfaces capable of engaging the face of the ball and causing it to spin about the launch axis. This spin is in a clockwise direction as viewed by the player and is produced for reasons readily apparent from FIG. 3 as the player lofts the ball while continuing the upward movement of his foot along the inner face of the ball.
Referring to FIG. 4, accessory 10 is shown assembled to shoe 11 at the time of manufacture using stitching passing through the lower lateral edge of plaque 15', sole 12' and upper 14. Otherwise the two constructions are the same, both structurally and functionally.
To be noted from the foregoing is the fact that the invention accessory leaves the toe of the shoe fully exposed and available for use in the usual manner. Furthermore, the provision of the separate securing means 22 for the two parts of the accessory enables the wearer to adjust the accessory to the precise degree of tautness desired without interfering in any way with the adjustment of the lacing for the shoe proper.
While the particular punting accessory for football player's shoe herein shown and disclosed in detailis fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.
1. In combination with a football shoe having a sole and an upper attached thereto, that improvement which comprises: means having a roughened surface along that lateral side of the shoe upper engaging a football while being punted and so positioned while in engagement with the ball as to impart spin thereto clockwise about the axis of the trajectory as the ball is punted, said means having the roughened surface being formed in two principal parts a first one of which is substantially larger than the second part and formed with a roughened ball-engaging surface, means securing said first and second parts across the exterior arch portion of the shoe upper in side-by-side relation, means securing the remote lateral edges of said first and second parts to the opposite lateral sides of the shoe upper, and means for releasably holding the adjacent edges of said first and second parts together when said shoe is being worn and releasable to facilitate removal of the shoe from the players foot.
2. The combination defined in claim 1 characterized in that said means having the roughened surface is attached to the shoe upper along one edge thereof and with the zone of said means normally contacting the ball to punt the same being' free of attachment to the upper.
3. The combination defined in claim 1 characterized in that the first of said parts is formed with a roughened surface comprising sharp-edged ribs extending parallel to one another generally lengthwise of the shoe and generally parallel with the longitudinal axis of the ball when properly engaged for punting.
4. The combination defined in claim 3 characterized in that said ribs are arranged in rows extending crosswise of the midlength portion of the shoe.
5. The combination defined in claim 3 characterized in that the toe portion of the shoe upper is exposed and free of said ribs.
6. The combination defined in claim 1 characterized in that said means having a roughened ball engaging surface is resilient and sufficiently flexible to avoid interfering with the normal flexing of the shoe proper.
7. An accessory attachable to the shoe of a football player for use in spinning a punted ball about its longitudinal axis as it leaves the punters shoe, said accessory comprising a flexible plaque having a roughened exterior surface, said plaque having a mounting edge adapted to be permanently secured to one lateral side of the midlength of a player's shoe and having its other lateral edge portion overlying the lacing securing the shoe to the players foot, elongated flexible strip means attachable to the exterior of the players shoe along the inner side thereof with one lateral edge spaced from said lateral edge portion of said flexible plaque, means for releaseably securing the adjacent lateral edges of said plaque and said strip means together to hold the same flush against the underlying surface of the players shoe and providing access to the shoe lacing when released, and said roughened surface being effective to engage the face of a football as it is being punted and to impart spin to the ball about the longitudinal axis thereof.
8. An accessory as defined in claim 7 characterized in that means for releasably securing said flexible plaque to a players shoe comprises a strip of flexible material permanently securable to the upper of a players shoe on the opposite side thereof from said flexible plaque.
9. An accessory as defined in claim 7 characterized in that said roughened surface comprises a plurality of sharp-edged ribs arranged to extend lengthwise of the player's foot when said accessory is secured to his shoe.
10. An accessory as defined in claim 9 characterized in that said ribs are molded from resilient elastomeric material and extended over the entire area normally engaging the face of a football while being punted.
11. An accessory as defined in claim 7 characterized in that the same comprises a major plaque and an elongated strip normally held releasably secured together by lacing, and the remote lateral edges of said major plaque and said elongated strip being permanently stitchable to the midlength portion of a players shoe with said major plaque covering the outwardly facing side of the players shoe and with said mounting strip lying along the inside face of the shoe.