If (but more likely when) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton gives a football to a young fan during the Super Bowl, he or she will probably take it home and display it proudly on a shelf.
And if (or, possibly, when) that kid grows up and decides to sell it, there’ll be a surefire way to prove that it’s a genuine Super Bowl 50 game ball thanks to a technology being used by the NFL to combat counterfeiters.
Each of the more than 100 footballs being used Sunday will be “tagged” with a synthetic DNA ink that leaves a security mark visible only when illuminated by a specific laser frequency. The sideline pylons and the coin used for the game-opening toss also will be marked.
“The special DNA ink we use has an astronomical 1-in-33 trillion chance of being accurately reproduced,” said Joe Orlando, president of PSA/DNA Authentication Services of Santa Ana, Calif., in a statement.
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“Many of the game-used Super Bowl footballs are sold by the NFL through charity auctions. The PSA/DNA certification combats potential counterfeiting and helps assure future owners that each ball is genuine,” explained Orlando.
About 120 footballs are expected to be used in Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.