NFL star admits rugby is ‘tougher, more athletic’ than American football

“For most guys, that’s way too much running.”

The infuriating beauty of intra-sport rivalry and “we are better than you” arguments is that most people are entrenched on the issue. Rugby fans, for example, are often triggered when American football fans claim that their sport has the toughest or most athletic players.

Should this spat happen again, rugby fans might just point to the comments of former Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs star Mitchell Schwartz.

The 2018 All-Pro first team selection and the 2019 Super Bowl champion with the Chiefs were on the line The Ryan Russillo Podcast, this week, discussing the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. During their recap of the game, Schwartz mentioned that he was a senior roommate with Cowboys punter Bryan Anger at the University of California, Berkley.

The Golden Bears football team hasn’t won a Bowl game in three years, but Schwartz says the rugby team – also known as the Golden Bears – more than makes up for bragging rights. university. “They dominate,” he says. “I think they have won 26 championships in 29 years. The rugby team has players.”

Indeed, the Golden Bears have won 28 national championships since 1980 and former players include US Eagles international players Blaine Scully, Louis Stanfill and record holder Mike MacDonald.

“When we were renovating our stadium”, Schwartz recalled, “we’ve basically taken over their rugby pitch and converted it into a synthetic turf football training pitch. And, of course, the rugby team are sitting there thinking, “These guys…we’re much better than them!”

“We built all these bungalows up there and had meetings, and completely took over their land. They were pissed at us. We love their championships – they add to the school.”

“As part of the cost-cutting measures, they were talking about reducing rugby, at one point,” Schwartz added. “And, again, they were like, ‘We are the BEST team in this school. Why are you trying to get rid of us?!’

Schwartz, who was a mainstay on the offensive line that ran with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes en route to two AFC titles and that 2019 Super Bowl, was happy to admit that rugby players are tougher and more athletic. than many in American football.

Patrick Mahomes #15 and Mitchell Schwartz #71 of the Kansas City Chiefs stand on the sidelines during the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans in January 2020. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Mitchell Schwartz on American football stars from rugby

During his eight years in the NFL [he is currently a free agent], Schwartz once again started 120 consecutive games, and made 7,894 consecutive snaps, putting him in the league’s “iron man” category for snaps.

He has a reputation for being a fierce competitor, but still believes that rugby players hold that overall advantage due to their versatile athletic abilities. He commented:

“The thing about rugby guys is that they’re way more athletic than attacking linemen, because they have to run.

“Of course, Haloti Ngata [Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens] used to play rugby and Jordan Mailata, who is the left tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a rugby player.

“Once in a while you get the guy who is this 6-foot-5, 300-pound guy who just runs people around. But, for most guys, that’s way too much running around. I’d be happy with my two or three-yard maximum sprint window.

“They’re also just crazy. They have that hockey player mentality, more so than football. Overall, they’re probably a little tougher and crazier than football players.”

There we have one of the most combative offensive linemen of the NFL’s last decade, freely admitting that rugby players have something special.

Use it as an asset in the future, rugby fans, but don’t wait for the arguments to stop.


About Betty J. Snyder

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