The rotational spin of a football after it leaves a quarterback’s hand. Also used to refer to an especially accurate pass thrown by a quarterback.
Due to the oblong shape of a football, the optimal aerodynamic orientation of the ball is to keep its point aligned with its trajectory while it is in the air. Footballs that are thrown in a spiral tend to travel farther, are more accurate and are usually easier to catch.
To make a perfect spiral, a player places his index finger on the seam, thumb underneath the back of the ball and remaining fingers across the laces. The ball should be held mostly by the player’s fingertips—his palm should not be pressing against the ball. The player then turns his body perpendicular to the target, holding the ball at chest level. When ready to throw, the player steps towards the receiver, bringing the throwing arm straight back. Once the elbow is above is shoulder, the player rotates his hand slightly and quickly rotates forward, releasing the football in an overhand motion. Arm fully extended, the player keeps his fingers on the ball for as long as possible as the ball rolls off his index finger into a spiral.