There’s a seemingly endless supply of topics about which the NFL and NFLPA disagree. The latest point of contention comes from the use of balls with synthetic laces.
Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the new balls have been distributed for use in Week Two of the preseason. Though use of the balls isn’t mandatory, Breer writes that some “Pro Bowl-caliber” quarterbacks have complained to the NFLPA about the synthetic laces, claiming that they potentially cause “micro-cuts” and possibly alter the throwing motion.
The league has downplayed the development, explaining that it’s merely a test — and pointing out that college and high school teams uses balls with synthetic laces, not leather laces.
Still, the union is concerned that the use of synthetic laces could be the first step toward allowing Nike to challenge Wilson for the official football contract.
That wouldn’t be a surprise. The league has tremendous bargaining power, and the best way to use it is to have two or more options when the time comes to do business. Even if Nike merely drives up the price Wilson pays for the privilege of having its balls show up in NFL games, the league wins.