New Balls, Please.
We’re only a few weeks off the start of the new season, so it’s time for another new Official Premier League Ball, and here it is. Now, I know what you’re thinking here. It’s just a football. It doesn’t really matter. Well, tish and pish to that. What we’re talking here is aesthetics, and I rather think that this is the best ball that Nike have managed to come up with for The Best League In The World. It is entirely plausible to assume that the red stripes across it betray a bias towards Manchester United and Arsenal, who are both teams that wear red Nike shirts, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt for once. This would have been a considerably better design had it been made in black and white, but we’ll have to disregard the conspiracy theorists and assume that it’s all a massive, massive coincidence. Less easily excusable is the ridiculous marketing guff that accompanies. Bear in mind before you read this that it comes from the Premier League’s own web site, rather than from Nike themselves:
“Its new, innovative panel geometry is designed to give players consistent response and touch wherever they strike the ball. Engineered hexagons and pentagons fit precisely together to create a nearly perfect sphere. The patent-pending design distributes pressure more evenly across panels and all around the ball to create what the engineers are calling a “360-Degree Sweet Spot.”
Now, consider that for a moment. Firstly, Nike are saying that they have created a “nearly perfect sphere”. This would lead this particular reader to believe that perhaps they would be better off making rugby balls than footballs. The 32-panel Buckminster design has (as we have discussed on here before, believe it or not) been around since the early 1960s (and has been used by both Adidas and Nike ever since, so there is nothing revolutionary about using hexagons and pentagons to create this shape. Also, if they’re expecting us to swallow the concept of a “360-Degree Sweet Spot”, then they must think that we’re even more stupid than I thought they did. The “sweet spot” (presuming that such a concept actually exists) is on the foot, and not on the ball. All spherical shapes would, by their very definition, have the same properties. Nike are claiming, I think, to have created the most perfect sphere ever made, but they’re not giving away how did this. This is, obviously, because they haven’t. The Nike Total Omni 90 is a football. And here ends this review.