Sports Spotlight: Nokona Football

- The game of football has changed quite a bit from its humble beginnings.
Much of it has to do with the shape of the ball.
Jermaine Ferrell explains how one Texoma man played a role in the development of the modern football
It is a passion here in Texas and it is a passion across the country.
But nearly 80 years ago, the way football looks today could be traced right here in Nocona.
The Nokona Athletic Goods Company started off in the early part of the 20th century as a purse manufacturer.
During the great depression purses were not selling.
So company founder Robert E. Storey looked for ways to diversify.
Rob Storey, Nokona Athletic Goods-"One of those is making a baseball glove. That people know about back in 1934. But then in '35 we made our first football. And so from that point forward we had a great involvement in the football."
Football back in the early days, was three yards and a cloud of dust.
But there were some coaches who wanted to air it out.
Trouble was they didn't have the right type of football.
Rob Storey says in 1936, a pair of college coaches came to his grandfather for assistance on a football made for passing.
Storey-"My grandfather as he started making footballs, he was new to it so he didn't know a lot about it. He even made a football out of pigskin, literally out of pigskin. But he was approached by Ray Morrison with SMU and Mattie Bell of TCU. Those were teams that were trying to bring along the forward pass. And they pointed out that there was know real good shape to a football as far as they are concerned. So they were looking for something that was more aerodynamic. And that could pass better. He was only to happy to accommodate them and to design a football that was more long gated. So it was more aerodynamic."
Storey became part of the NCAA committee in the late 1930's to standardize the type of football used in games.
Storey's version became the football of choice.
Nokona Athletic Goods would supply footballs for little league teams all the way to pro teams.
The company made 50,000 footballs a year.
Nokona stopped making footballs in 1965 to concentrate on other athletic goods.
Due to the development of the modern day football Robert Storey was inducted to the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame in 1982.
Storey-"With passing becoming more and more important as the decades go by, you can look back and say, what would have happened if the passing ball would not have come about and more teams were not exposed to it would that have been happening later on or would that not be a big part of the game so we had our very small part in it and we are real proud of it".
So the next time you see your favorite team passing the ball, you can say thank you to Nocona's Robert Storey.

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