7 Differences Between Rugby and American Football
Many people have a misconception when it comes to differentiating rugby and American football. How many times you’ve heard these two sports are the same? Let’s make it clear; rugby and American football are completely different sports that have similarities.
Keep reading as we’re going to write on differences between rugby and American football:
#1 Balls Have Different Shapes
Although the balls look very similar, there is a small difference that hugely affects the game. The balls for both sports have the same standard length of 11 inches, but the major difference is in the balls’ ends. Rugby ball has almost flat ends while a ball for American football has very sharp ends. The dimensions of rugby balls are standardized and the international size is about 28 cm long and 60 wide.
You may ask what’s the purpose of different shaped ends?
Different shapes definitely affect the game, mainly the dynamics of gameplay. For example, in American football, it’s not uncommon to see long throws from one part to the whole another part of the field. That’s mainly the reason why the ball has sharp ends since its ends cut through the air allowing the ball to fly far distance. The ball for American football is much lighter and weighs only around 200 grams.
On the other hand, rugby is a game where the focus is on short passes and slow progression. Players usually throw the ball with an underhand grip and the shape of the ball helps in stability and precision on a short distance. The ball will lose all the balance if you try to throw it a long distance. Also, the rugby ball is heavier that which makes it hard to perform long passes. The weight of a rugby ball ranges from 410 to 460 grams.
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#2 Number of Players on the Field
This is a significant difference between those two sports since during the rugby match there are always 15 players on the field. On the other hand, during American football matches, there are only 11 players. It makes a game strategy and the whole dynamics of the game different.
#3 Geographical Location and Origin
Rugby is mainly played around Europe and south hemisphere. For example, rugby is very popular in England, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand and Australia. In recent years the sport gained popularity across the US. The game of rugby originates from England (beginning of the 19th century) when the rules were introduced around countless public schools. The first Rugby Football Union was formed in 1871. and had 21 teams participating in the league. The end of the 19th century was a golden era for spreading the game since the game spread among the working class around England and Wales. The biggest tournament in rugby is by far Rugby World Cup that is hosted every four years. The current world cup winner is New Zealand.
On the other hand, American football, as the name suggests, is the sport that is mainly played around the US. It gained some popularity around Europe, but there are only a few active amateur teams and competitions outside the US. This game developed from rugby in the late 19th century when British colonists introduced rugby to Americans. The biggest and most prestigious tournament is NFL playoffs that is an elimination tournament of 32 teams. Playoffs are hosted every year starting after a New Year.
#4 Number of Substitutions
In rugby, there are only 7 substitutions allowed during the whole game. Once the player gets out of the field, he/she can’t get back in the game unless there are no other substitutions or the last substitution is injured. In American football, there is no limit when it comes to substitutions.
#5 Dimensions of the Field
There is a huge difference in field dimensions between these two sports. Rugby field is a bit longer measuring 120 meters while American football field measures roughly 110 meters. The significant difference is in the width of the field. Rugby field is much wider, measuring 70 meters, while American football field measures around 50 meters.
#6 Level of Protection
In rugby, the level of protection is minimal since players usually wear only teeth and shin protection. Players in American football are fully equipped with the protection including helmet, shoulder and chest pads, leg and teeth protection.
Both games feature a huge amount of physical contact, but the impact hugely differs. You might think that the health impact of rugby is much worse since the lack of equipment, but you’d be surprised. The health impact of American football is much more significant since the contact is more destructive. Players are fully-equipped with protection which gives them more confidence when it comes to physical contact. That results in serious injuries and long-term health impact.
#7 Length of Game
Rugby is a longer game that is separated into two halves, each 40 minutes long. American football, on the other hand, has four 15-minutes quarters and a 12-minute break after two quarters.
#8 Best Teams
The best team in rugby is by far ‘New Zealand All Blacks’ team. The national team is holding the title for 8 consecutive years.
Here you can see the highlights from the ‘New Zealand All Blacks’ team:
Currently, the best NFL team is ‘New England Patriots’ and you check why are they the best-ranked team below:
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