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The ball that just won't die

So simple it appears harmless. So potent it can mold NFL stars.

Updated: April 5, 2013, 12:19 PM ET
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine

This story appeared in ESPN The Magazine's April 21, 2008, issue. Subscribe today!

JUST DOWN the mountainside from the ancient Sicilian town of Piazza Armerina sit the massive ruins of La Villa Romana del Casale.The crumbling walls of this 1,600-year-old estate contain the world's richest collection of Roman mosaics, including the slightly scandalous "girls in bikinis" mosaic. The famous work, which spreads across the floor, depicts 10 golden-haired women in various stages of ...

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