Learn the Surprising Science Behind the Football Spiral

1 minute read

Football season is finally upon us, and with that, team pride, tailgating, and the perfect spiral. But how exactly does that spiral work?

A good spiral throw makes 600 turns per minute—just as fast as a cd in a cd player. As the ball spins across the field, gravity pulls the nose of the ball downwards, and the direction the football changes slightly depending on which hand you use to throw it.

Watch materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez explain the physics behind the perfect touchdown pass.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com