DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas business will make the Cowboys’ game balls after they pulled off a win against the Seahawks inside AT&T Stadium Saturday night.
Big Game Football Factory is also behind almost every single ball used in college football’s bowl season, including Monday night’s national championship.
For Chris Calandro, the company’s CEO, it’s a labor of love.
“It’s great,” said Calandro. “We make the most important object in America’s favorite sport, so that’s really fun.”
The cowhide is cut into panels, hot stamped with logos and brands, stitched to a layer of thick fabric, steamed with all four panels turned inside then right outside out, laced and inflated.
“You couldn’t hand pick a better spot to be, to start a football factory,” said Calandro.
A quarter century ago, Calandro and his wife who were then newlyweds, ran the business outside of their apartment in Irving.
He started it because he was unable to purchase small orders of customized footballs.
“Seven out of the last eight Heisman winners we made footballs for, and that’s, that’s extremely special,” said Calandro. “And I love that.”
Big Game also makes balls for people off the field, including Roger Staubach and former presidents.
“We made some for President Bush, which is exciting, cause I think he’s a great man, lives in Dallas,” said Calandro.
Calandro said this isn’t a business, but a way of life.
“I eat, sleep and breath this stuff,” said Calandro. “And when I can’t sleep at night, I’m thinking about the American football, and how we can do it better.”
He said one of his earliest works was a commemorative ball of the 1979 LSU versus Southern California game. Calandro, his father and brother were given two tickets right before kickoff.
His father asked the man at the gate if he could slide through so his sons could see the game. The man let them through.
The ball was a gift for his father.