The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 47: Helium Football

Premier Date: February 1, 2006

A regulation NFL football will fly farther when filled with helium as opposed to compressed air at regulation pressure (13 psi).


Under the same amount of impulse force under the same atmospheric conditions, balls filled with helium showed no significant difference from balls filled with compressed air. It was also shown that, under the same impulse, both types of balls had the same initial velocity; since the helium-filled balls have less mass than the air-filled ones, the helium-filled balls have less inertia in flight: in fact, they may perform worse than air-filled balls over larger distances.

It is possible for a human to catch a fired bullet in one piece with their teeth.


A pig’s teeth are significantly stronger than a human’s, and yet were shattered by an impulse test when a bullet, held by a pig head’s teeth under the same pressure as an average human’s maximum bite strength, was suddenly forced forward by a force equivalent to a speeding bullet. Furthermore, the reaction time needed to perfectly capture a bullet in one’s teeth is too short and has too tight a tolerance for any human (and almost any machine for that matter) to succeed. Finally, when the bullet was captured perfectly, the velocity that it traveled at completely destroyed even a full metal jacket bullet: it is impossible to catch a bullet in the same state as it exited a gun via solid mechanical means.