I read the following passage, and this made me wonder how common it is to just say 'a football' when referring to 'a football ball,' or 'a baseball' when referring to 'a baseball ball.' Is it common?
We threw a football around in my front yard. We each had the Tiparillos in our mouths --- mine lit, your unlit. We let Timmy play football with us. ('And You Know You Should Be Glad' by Bob Greene)