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Each month, the factory receives 12,000 cowhides (such as the one above). Before arriving at the plant, the leather on the hide is tanned and pebbled. The first step at the Wilson factory is called cutting. A handheld device is used to slice away panels. Four panels make up one football, and each hide produces 10 balls.

Text: Sachin Shenolikar
Photo: DAVID E. KLUTHO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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