American Football vs Rugby

For those without an in-depth knowledge of sports, American football and rugby may seem to be virtually the same game. However, fans of either game will be quick to point out that, in fact, there are numerous differences. Here, we take a closer look at some of the similarities but also the things that set these two sports apart so if you’re looking for the top online betting deals you’ll have the knowledge that you need to wager wisely and make a profit.

First – What Is American Football?

American football is a sport which is played between two opposing teams. There are 11 people in each team and there are unlimited substitutions. This intensely physical game involves the use of complex strategies to try to score points. Points are scored by getting the ball to the end-zone of the opposing team.

What Is Rugby?

Rugby is also a sport played between two opposing teams however there are 15 people in each time. Gameplay takes place on a rectangular field with high goal posts at each end. The aim is to either kick the ball through the goal posts’ upper portion or to get it across the goal line of the opposing team to score.

Differences In The Rules

Although both games are contact sports, they aren’t identical in every respect. We’ve already mentioned that there are different numbers of players in the teams. There are also differences between the rules of American football and those of rugby. For example, in American football, players can only run with or pass the ball. Meanwhile, in rugby, it can be kicked too.

The Origins of Both Sports

It is said that American football was based on rugby. British colonists arriving from Canada are believed to have introduced rugby to America and, at that time, the two games were as differentiated as they are today. Rugby’s origins date back to the 19th century, or even before. During the 1800s, new formalities were brought into the rules of football (or soccer) in England’s seven biggest public schools. In 1871, the Rugby Football Union was established, made up of representatives from 21 different clubs across the south of England. Twenty years later, the game had become widespread, with more than 50% of the RFU clubs being in the north of the country.

The Playing Fields

A rectangular playing field of 110 metres (or 120 yards) in length and 49 metres (or 53 1/3 yards) in width is used to play American football. The goal lines are 100 yards apart close to each end of the playing field. Rugby league playing fields are quite similar being 120 metres in length and around half that measurement in width. However, a line is made across the field at every 10 metres.

Making Contact

Perhaps the biggest difference between rugby and American football is that, when playing rugby, every player can handle the ball. Time-outs, forward passing and blocking of any type are also forbidden. Also, obstructing or screening players without the ball in any way is forbidden in rugby. This is not the case in American football. This represents the primary reason that rugby is generally a safer game than American football. Also, unlike in American football, the only legal passes are lateral ones. Kicking and running can also advance the ball. Meanwhile, in American football, a single forward pass is permitted per down as long as it comes from behind the scrimmage line.

Wearing Protective Gear

When players take part in rugby matches, they lack any kind of hard protective equipment like padding and helmets. This is the reason why rugby players learn how to tackle bearing their own safety in mind. In American football, players are allowed hard tackles. For this reason, they wear protective gear like padding and helmets.

Cost & Schedule

When compared with professional American football, rugby offers lower costs and a more flexible schedule.

How Does Scoring Work?

Another major difference between the two games is the way in which scoring works. In rugby league games, a try is the word given to scoring. In American football, the equivalent is known as a touchdown. Interestingly, a try involves touching the ball down onto the ground, however a touchdown does not require this to happen. In American football, a player can carry the ball into the end-zone by holding it or carrying it through the goal line’s imaginary plane. Rugby league, however, requires the ball to be pressed onto the ground within the goal area. The number of points awarded also vary. In American football, a touchdown is worth six points, whereas in rugby league a try is worth four points and in rugby union it’s worth five.

Differences In Strategy

Rugby and American football also use different strategies to score. American football features set moves as well as set counter moves in a similar way to chess while rugby has more free-flow and is a more spontaneous game.

Differences In Geography

As you can imagine from the name, American football usually is played within North America. Rugby is generally played elsewhere in the world, but is especially prominent in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and in areas of Europe.

As you can see, there are a few ways in which these two games are similar, however in most respects they are very different sports. Yet both have their own dedicated fans!

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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