Football Terms – NFL Kicking Balls
K-balls are footballs used by the NFL for kicking plays. Shipped in directly from the Wilson factory, these balls are generally considered to be slicker and harder than the average football. They are kept separated from the rest of the balls, and a special ball boy watches over them.
The original intention was to make sure that each kick had a new ball. However, many kickers have complained about not getting time to break the balls in (quarterbacks, for example, have time to rub the game balls and get rid of the newness).
Originally. 12 K-balls were rotated during the game to make sure each was used the same amount of times. Since the balls were straight out of the box, they tended to be slick and generally more difficult to handle.
The K-ball drew attention in the 2007 postseason, when they were partially blamed for a Tony Romo fumble. Romo, the Cowboys quarterback, was going to hold the kick during a last-minute field goal try against the Seattle Seahawks. He ended up fumbling the slick ball, and the Dallas Cowboys lost the game and were eliminated from the playoffs.
After that, new policies were put into place regarding the K-Ball. These balls are now marked 1 through 12. Ball-number-one is used on the initial kickoff, and it is continually used until its no longer a option. Then, ball-number-two is brought into play.