by A.J. Coltrane
I’d been looking for a new “old school” Nerf for a long time. I hadn’t been able to find one because they’re no longer manufactured. This past weekend I knew I’d have some arms willing to test out the new Nerfs, so I purchased the two most likely replacements in advance of some serious throwing around. My elbow is still a little sore four days later.
Pictured below are two new Nerf footballs, as well as what I think is an ancient Nerf knockoff — probably a Poof.
Center- Nerf N-Sports Pro Grip Football
Weather Blitz: The green on the Weather Blitz is actually a semi-hard raised plastic. It’s easy to grip and easy to catch. I found I could get a good spiral on it, though I really had to “snap off” the throws. I found a couple of arm slots that worked, but that was it. It was fun to really get a good tight-spiral throw, though I think it was harder on my elbow than the other two footballs.
Sloppy throws resulted in really “ugly balls”. I didn’t think it was very forgiving — basically All Or Nothing — if my release point was too low the nose of the ball would burrow towards the ground. Additionally, I’d be a little hesitant to play catch using the Weather Blitz with someone young or someone with bad coordination. I’d be worried about hitting them in the nose or eye. It probably would’t hurt them, but I doubt it’d be fun.
All in all though, the ball does “sing” when thrown really well, and that’s really satisfying.
Pro Grip: Easy to throw. A variety of arm slots and deliveries worked. I could rarely get a perfect spiral, but even the imperfect throws were still pretty good. I found it a little hard to catch because, at least when new, it’s fairly slick. It’s also not very dense, so the ball would tend to try bounce off of my hands. Definitely less like a “real football” than the Weather Blitz, but it was still fun. I would have liked it more if it were a tiny bit heavier and/or denser.
Poof: Easy to throw, though it needs a good spiral to carry very far into the wind. This is the ball that Amazon reviewers thought was the hardest to put a good spiral on. I didn’t have that hard a time with it personally. I found that it allowed for some really crummy technique and it would still carry ok. Almost any arm slot and release point worked. Maybe they’re now making them with lighter foam than mine has. I like mine, it’s just so old that it will need replacing soon. I may buy a new Poof and try that out too.
Other Stuff: The Poof is close in size to a regular football. If I remember correctly, it’s also vaguely larger than an “old-school” Nerf. I’m pretty sure that the new Nerfs are somewhat smaller than the “old-school” Nerf, and they’re definitely smaller than I’d prefer.
The gang was fairly evenly divided about which ball they liked best, though all the votes were for one of the two new Nerfs. I think that the Pro Grip is a better ball for smallish kids, and that the Weather Blitz is more for older kids/adults, or for use in windy conditions.
My guess is that the Pro Grip is the one I’ll use more often, just because it’s more forgiving on my arm than the Weather Blitz. I can move my arm slot and release point around more with the Pro Grip, which means I get more play time before my arm bags out.
Ultimately, they’re different and loosely equal — I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
Peyton Manning in one of my favorite SNL sketches: