American football and rugby, what is the difference?

Rugby is a physically demanding game, so when in 1869 in New Brunswick teams from the two universities wanted to play against each other, it was decided to change the rules of the game, creating a mix between rugby and European soccer, removing power and adding entertainment. Thus, American football was born and became the most popular sport in the United States. Every year, nearly half of Americans watch the NFL Super Bowl, along with people in more than 200 other countries. Such events become a magnet for sports bloggers who continually increase their ratings, buy instagram followers, invest in advertising and attract more interest from loyal fans. Both games appeared two centuries ago and still do not lose their positions. They praise dynamics, showmanship and the art of tactics. American football and rugby are two similar sports, but with quite different rules of play.

Football field

The playing field in both sports is similar but has different dimensions. Both pitches have a rectangular shape, soccer goals at opposite ends, and white lines drawn on certain areas of the pitch. The game of American football is played on a longer, narrower field and measures 91.44 yards. The rugby pitch is bigger at 100 yards and the markings are also different. There are side, front and center lines which limit the goal area. As for the lens, there are no particular differences.


American football and rugby use oblong, air-filled balls of varying sizes. The size of the ball depends on the type of game and the age of the players. American footballs are more pointed at the ends, while rugby balls are slightly larger in diameter and heavier. A rugby ball is made from synthetic materials. A soccer ball is made of natural leather which has a rough surface. This allows the ball to be held during the game.

Due to its more streamlined shape, a soccer ball has less resistance as it moves through the air. Thus, American football players throw the ball with an overhead motion, while rugby players throw the ball backwards for relatively short distances.

Number of players in the team

Compared to American football, rugby teams have more players on the field. The roles of the players are also different. In American football, each team consists of three distinct units: offense, defense and special teams, and these specific roles must be strictly adhered to.

The number of players in rugby depends on the type of game. The two main types of rugby are Rugby Union, where each team has 15 players, and Rugby League, where each team has 13 players. Due to the fundamental difference in the way rugby is played, each player can assume the role of attacker and defender when needed.

Replacement of players

In the most important American football games, most players on the team only attack or defend. When a team wins or loses the ball, the game stops and the players are replaced by 11 new players. At any time between games, a team may substitute one or more players.

There is no limit to the number of player substitutions allowed during a match, and some players specialize in a particular task at which they excel better than others.

In rugby, the same players remain on the field, regardless of which team has gained possession of the ball. This means that most players need to be versatile and play both defense and attack.

Players’ equipment

Passing power in American football averages four times that of rugby. Therefore, the player’s equipment is more like that of hockey. It includes breeches with knee pads, helmets with protective mask, solid shoulder pads, as well as protections for the knees, shins and thighs.

The form of rugby players practically does not differ from ordinary European football. Rugby players generally wear little or no protection. Some players use padded ear, shoulder, and collarbone pads, but hard pads are not allowed.

Game time

American football lasts four halves of fifteen minutes each. After the first and third halves, a one-minute break is granted. The break after the second half is fifteen minutes. In American football, playing time is often stopped, for example, when a player passes the ball on a forward serve, when a goal is scored, when possession of the ball changes and, in some cases, when the ball goes out of bounds.

A standard rugby match consists of two periods of 40 minutes each, and the entire game lasts 80 minutes. Play continues until an outward or forward pass. Breaks are not provided for in the rules, breaks are possible if it is necessary to provide first aid or watch a video replay to resolve a controversial subject.

carry the ball

In both sports, there is a difference between throwing and catching a ball. In American football, the quarterback usually throws the ball, while in rugby, each player on the field throws and catches the ball.

Rugby players can pass the ball with their hands and feet, but they are not allowed to pass forward with their hands. In American football, most basic combinations consist of forward passes with the hands, but forward passes with the legs are not allowed.

In American football a long pass can sometimes carry the game fifty to sixty yards at a time, while in rugby the game develops more in shorter forward passes.

In summary, spectators who prefer flashy attacks all over the pitch will enjoy rugby. In American football, physical preparation and the tactical component come first. As for global popularity, American football is played mainly in the United States while rugby is more of an international sport, and broadcasts of Rugby World Cup matches break all audience records. During matches, the media and opinion leaders who constantly buy real instagram followers and create information noise on social networks, often get confused on the names of the games, because the two terms used are widely used in the world. In all, there are dozens of local names for soccer and related sports games around the world. But that does not prevent this sport from remaining truly international, giving lively emotions and the joy of communicating to people all over the world, regardless of language, color and beliefs.

About Betty J. Snyder

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