The hand is placed so that the grip is on the back third of the ball with the little finger being within about a half inch from the mid-point of the ball. The grip should be made primarily with the fingertips although the palm of the hand may be slightly touching the ball. The first three fingers ( little finger, ring finger, and middle finger ) should be evenly spaced. The index finger takes a wider spread than the other fingers and at more of an angle back toward the point of the ball.
The index finger is the controlling factor and should be the last finger to leave the football as it is released. This helps to keep the nose of the ball up which makes for a "softer" pass to catch. The thumb should almost make a right angle to the index finger, and should rest on the other side of the ball.
Courtesy Coach Jerry Campbell