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Physics Involved in Throwing the Football



An American football is shaped like an egg, or ellipsoid. Therefore, it cannot be thrown like a spherical object to achieve maximum distance. It is actually thrown horizontally, axis parallel to ground in the long direction, in order to “slice” through the air, this in turn reduces the cross sectional area in which air resistance can affect the ball. In addition a rotational component is applied to the ball to reduce air resistance and maximize distance. When an individual throws a football the flight path of the given projectile is that of parabolic motion. The football is then independent of an applied force after the initial force is applied to the football. The football is then only affected by gravity, air resistance, and rotational inertial energy. A football’s vertical component is affected by gravity and the angle of attack of the air resistance on the ball. Gravity is a constant and the air resistance is taken to be a constant throughout flight, but the rotational inertial energy decreases as soon as the ball is released. The rotation of the football causes it to slice through the air, if not enough force is applied the ball will begin to unravel if you will. This results in a greater cross sectional area and greater air resistance on the ball. These all affect the flight path of the ball, and simple physics explains all of these components. Just like it
can also explains the how one punts a football.