Title:
Football with built-in tee
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A soft football adapted for play with or among children has a built-in tee which is rotatable about a pivot axis between an inoperative position where it is recessed along the surface of the football and an operative position where it is capable of supporting the football on its end so that it can be kicked without being held by a separate tee or a person.



Inventors:
Orlowski, Boguslaw (Oceanside, CA, US)
Kessler, Brian (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/315171
Publication Date:
06/10/2004
Filing Date:
12/10/2002
Assignee:
Maui Toys (Los Angeles, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/569
International Classes:
A63B43/00; A63B69/00; A63B43/02; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00; A63B43/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Browdy and Neimark, PLLC (1625 K Street, N.W. Suite 1100, Washington, DC, 20006, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A play football of soft foam rubber of foam plastic, comprising a built-in tee.

2. The football of claim 1 wherein said tee is rotatable between a recessed position and an operative position.

3. The tee of claim 2 further comprising a mechanism for fixing said tee in its operative position.

4. The football of claim 3 wherein said tee comprises a hinge about which said tee is capable of rotation between said recessed position and said operative position.

5. The football of claim 4 wherein said mechanism further comprises spring biasing means.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a football with a built-in tee, and more particularly to a soft football with a built-in tee adapted for play with or among children.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Insofar as is known, no football of any type has ever been provided having a built-in tee so as to enable the ball to stand in position on the ground or a flat surface adapted for kicking, without a separate holder commonly known as a football “tee”. Consequently, when kicking a football during “kicking-off”, the ball must either be held in place by a second player while the kicker kicks the ball, or it must be placed in or on a separate tee.

[0003] Eliminating the necessity for a second player to hold the ball or for a separate tee would be desirable, especially for play among children, and most especially for play among small children.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0004] The present invention relates to a football having a built-in tee, such football being adapted to be placed on the ground or on the floor with the built-in tee in an operative position, so that the ball will stand by itself without the need of a separate tee or without the need of a person holding the ball in place for the kicker.

[0005] The invention will be better understood from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings of certain preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0006] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a football in accordance with the present invention having a built-in tee in a recessed position;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1, but with the tee in an operative position;

[0008] FIG. 3 is an elevational view showing a football in accordance with the present invention with the tee in its operative position on a flat surface ready for being kicked;

[0009] FIG. 4 is an elevational view partly in section with the tee in recessed position; and

[0010] FIG. 5 is a view similar FIG. 4, partly in section, showing the tee in operative position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0011] A preferred embodiment of a child's play football 10 in accordance with the present invention is shown in the figures. The football 10 may be of conventional construction except for the presence of a built-in tee 14 which, in the illustrated embodiments described below in more detail, is generally of an inverted Y-shape with a leg 141 and two arms 140, the bottom edges of which provide a support surface. The body 12 of the football 10 may be formed of foam rubber or foam plastic, preferably with a surface skin 16. The foam rubber or plastic from which the body 12, preferably having a typical elongated “football-shape”, is desirably soft and compressable so as to prevent hard impacts when the ball strikes a child, as is conventional.

[0012] The tee 14 is hinged near or adjacent its upper end 142 within the body 12 of the football 10, and in its inoperative position sits within a recess 18 which is desirably complementary in shape to the tee 14, the depth of the recess 18 being approximately the same as the thickness of the tee 14 so that, in its inoperative position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the outside surface of the tee 14 aligns approximately with the outside surface 16 of the body 12.

[0013] An important feature of the present invention is the provision of a suitable mechanism to maintain the tee 14 in its recessed position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. This may be done in a number of ways, including the provision of a tight friction fit. However, a preferred mechanism is shown in section in FIGS. 4 and 5. In this preferred construction a biasing spring 144, for example a coil spring confined within a tube 146, acts on a projection 148 at the upper end 142 of the tee 14 to bias the tee 14 into the closed or recessed position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. In order to better retain the coil spring 144 and improve its functioning, a supporting plate 143 is located at the distal end of the coil spring 144, and a slidable cup shaped element 145 retains therewithin the proximal end of the spring 144. The plate 143, integral or unitary with the tube 146, also serves to help retain the entire structure within the body 12 of the football 10.

[0014] Alternatively, the plate 143 may be dispensed with, and the tube 146 may simply be provided with a closed distal end. In such a case, the tube 146, which may have a circular, square or other cross-sectional configuration, should be adhesively retained within the body 12 of the football 10. By “adhesively retained”, what is meant is that a separate adhesive may be used or that the body 12 by its nature itself may adhere to the tube 146. This latter effect results from a preferred method of manufacture, as briefly explained below.

[0015] Completing the structure of the tee 14 is a pivot pin 149 about which the tee 14 rotates. While most of the aforementioned parts of the tee 14 are preferably formed of hard plastic, the pivot pin is preferably metal, with its ends retained and held in place by walls of the tube 146.

[0016] The preferred construction as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 has another advantage over the simple provision of a friction fit. Thus, as can be seen in FIG. 5, the biasing spring 144 also serves to maintain the tee 14 in its operative position in the illustrated construction, as well as in its recessed position as shown in FIG. 4.

[0017] The football 10 of the present invention may be molded in a conventional way as is known in the prior art, except that the entire structure of the tee including its supporting structure, e.g. the tube 146, etc., is first supported in an appropriate location within the interior of the mold adjacent an interior surface of the mold. In such a case, the mold should be so constructed so that the tee itself, namely the arms 140 and the leg 141, do not become adhered to the foam rubber or foam plastic composition during molding.

[0018] The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such specific embodiments without undue experimentation and without departing from the generic concept, and, therefore, such adaptations and modifications should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments. For example, while the tee 14 in the illustrated embodiments is shown as having an inverted Y-shape, other shapes will be possible, e.g. the gap between the two arms of the Y can be closed in so as to make a single support, or the tee can have a generally delta-shape.

[0019] It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation. The means, materials, and steps for carrying out various disclosed functions may take a variety of alternative forms without departing from the invention.

[0020] Thus the expressions “means to . . . ” and “means for . . . ”, or any method step language, as may be found in the specification above and/or in the claims below, followed by a functional statement, are intended to define and cover whatever structural, physical, chemical or electrical element or structure, or whatever method step, which may now or in the future exist which carries out the recited function, whether or not precisely equivalent to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed in the specification above, i.e., other means or steps for carrying out the same functions can be used; and it is intended that such expressions be given their broadest interpretation.





 
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