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Workers Busy Handcrafting Super Bowl Footballs

ADA, Ohio (CNN) — It’s used in every NFL game and with the league’s biggest event approaching, the makers of Wilson footballs are at it again, crafting the perfect Super Bowl game ball, one stitch at a time.

“Basically, when you’ve got a good thing going you don’t change it.”  A proud motto for this place.

Since 1941 every point scored in the NFL has been with a Wilson football.  Including the league’s biggest game, Wilson footballs have been at every Super Bowl.

Created consistently since 1969, in this small mid-western town of Ada, Ohio

“We can get Superbowl off that’s our factory’s proudest moment. No, it never gets old, it’s great. It makes you feel proud. It’s a great feeling to know that maybe you laced that ball that’s on the field.”

At the Wilson plant in 2012, however, a typical change adds on to a unique twist.

“The fact that they can feel closer to it.”

Just three hours away in fact from the big game in Indianapolis.

Wilson Plant Manager Dan Riegle says,“Everybody knows it’s close. We’ve got some employees here who have relatives in Indiana so it’s a big deal for us.”

In the end though for the Ada Wilson football makers the best thing about having a Super Bowl essentially in their backyard is the fact that they’ll get a chance to show many fans exactly how their unique process works.

“People think we have some kind of robot or something but there’s just some things that people have to do themselves,” says Jane Hesler, Machine Operator.

With that spirit in mind a few years ago, a few workers in the Ada plant had a way to express this.  “My seventh NFL experience and that’s one of the questions that they always say is like ‘is all the footballs really made this way?’”

And thanks to the Indianapolis proximity, for the first time, everyone here will get to answer that question.

“Friday, before the game we’re taking all of our employees down to the NFL experience.”

As around 100 employees bring their Ada Craftsmanship to the Circle City.

“I try to make the lace as tight as I can.”

“That’s a way for us to be able to show all of the people in Indiannapolis how they’re made.”

“They know more than ever that they have a hand in it and they get to see how big apart Wilson is in the entire event,” with a little twist of consistency.

“It’s amazing, it can be like a day or two process. It’s definitely an experience,” for the buyer and maker.


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