American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best

American football and rugby are two sports that are often compared to each other as they have a similar form and structure. However, they also have features that set them apart. They are played in vastly different areas of the world and each has its own nuances particular to the region in which it is played. 

This article will discuss the similarities and differences between American football and rugby. Learn about their definition, history, rules, and techniques, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

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American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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What Is American Football?

American football, also known as gridiron, is played by two teams with 11 players on each side. The game field is rectangular with goalposts at each end of the team base.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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American football players are required to wear a huge amount of protective equipment. It includes helmets, gloves, shoulder pads, thigh and knee pads, shoes, a mouthguard, and a jockstrap.

American football is focused only on one league, which is the National Football League (NFL). The NFL was founded as the American Professional Football Association in 1920 in Ohio. It is a major U.S. professional gridiron football organization.

Rules, Techniques, and Scoring of the Game

The object of the game is to move the ball towards and into the end zone of the opponent. To achieve the goal, the player will have to run with the ball until tackled or throw the ball downfield to a teammate. There are several scoring mechanics applied in the game. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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One is a touchdown. It is worth six points and is received when a team is able to cross the goal line of the opposing team with the ball or collects and catches the ball in the end zone. A field goal is worth three points. It is usually tried on fourth down if the player is near enough the end zone to kick the ball between the posts or uprights. 

A safety is worth two points, earned by the defensive team when an offensive team’s player is tackled with the ball in his end zone. Moreover, there is an extra point which can be one or two points. One point is given to the team that kicked the ball through the uprights after a touchdown, while two points are given if the ball is taken into the end zone again.

History of American Football

American football was brought to North America by European settlers. The game became popular in the 19th century during intramural games on college campuses. The rules often varied from campus to campus. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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In 1869, Rutgers University and Princeton University played football against each other using rules close to the ones set by the Football Association in Britain than to modern American football rules. It was considered as the first intercollegiate American football game.

In 1873, members of Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and Rutgers Universities drafted the first codified American football rules.

Harvard University

Harvard University, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, had not been part of the American football rules codification. They wanted to continue playing football on their own, so it was difficult for them to schedule games against other American universities. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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They then looked to Canada and Montreal mainly for their opposition. The game was played under so-called ‘concessional rules‘ to allow for the variations between the desired rules of the two institutions.

Those were rules that incorporated aspects of the rugby-influenced game preferred by Harvard with the variant of Yale that remained more similar to association football. Those rules established the first structure comparable to today’s actual American football rules.

The Man Who Made Modern Football

Walter Camp is known as the father of American football.” He contributed to the development of the initial rules of football to produce true modern American football.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Camp made several changes to the rules of football, including the reduction of team sizes to 11, establishment of a snap from the center to the quarterback, introduction of the line of scrimmage, and down and distance rules.

Additionally, he made changes through the 1880s as well, such as legalizing blocking and refining points scoring. By 1900, all of the changes were implemented. While in 1906, the legalization of forwarding passes. American football has a long-established form as known today.

The Popularity and Advantages of American Football

In the 1980s, American football teams and leagues were established in Europe. It has also garnered international popularity through television. These results are due to the marketing efforts of the National Football League.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Playing American football, just like any other sport, brings many benefits. It can contribute to one’s physical health. Football players undergo conditioning and strength training, which are great types of exercise and ideal for cardiovascular health.

Also, football teaches an excellent way to improve concentration, develop teamwork and leadership skills. This sport encourages having a good work ethic with other people. It can even positively impact your mental well-being.

Disadvantages of American Football

A lot of complications are involved in playing football, and physical injuries are also expected. There are many confirmed cases of football injuries that have occurred in schools. But also professional football players came to a deal over severe health problems with the NFL.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Football players usually encounter common injuries such as ankle sprains, meniscus tears, hamstring injuries, and concussions. These injuries can range from mild to severe.

In addition, playing football is a physical sport, so a lot of equipment is required. Protective gears are essential that you have to invest large sums of money on quality ones for maximum protection.

What Is Rugby?

Rugby is a full-contact sport that consists of two teams of 15 players (in rugby union) and 13 players (in rugby league). This sport uses an oval-shaped ball and is played in a rectangular field. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Players wear sturdy pairs of boots, mouth guards, headgears, and padded equipment.

The Rugby World Cup is also the sport’s biggest event. It is a men’s rugby tournament which takes place every four years. It also acts as the world’s third-largest single-sport event.

Rules and Techniques of the Game

A rugby match consists of two teams of 15 players. For a goal worth 5 points, the teams have 80 minutes to advance the ball past the side of the field of their rivals and touch it to the ground. The only tactic with which all teams can move the ball forward is kicking.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Using several stages such as lineouts, mauls, rucks, and scrums to maintain possession during play, players may only move the ball sideways or sideways with no blocking permitted. And after players are tackled on the ground, rugby play is continuous. 

After each try, the scoring team is given a chance to kick the ball through the posts for an extra 2 points. Some penalties often gain a kick through the posts by the non-offending side, worth 3 points if made. The team with the most points wins at the end of the match.

History of Rugby

Rugby games originated in England. Based on a sport’s story, in 1823 at a Rugby School, William Webb Ellis, disregarded the rules of football, first took the ball in his arms, and ran with it.

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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In 1871, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the very first governing body of the game, lay down the first codified set of rugby rules. RFU was established in a hostelry in London and started organizing and officializing a sport that had evolved since then.

The rugby game began to grow and spread across the world from the 1870s onwards, mainly due to the colonial efforts of Britain. The expansion of rugby took place in several various nations, including Canada, it will be vital to the growth of American football.

The Popularity of the Game

Rugby is a world-famous sport. In several countries, such as Japan, Spain, Uruguay, and Georgia. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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There are many clubs and national teams established. 

In the 21st century, there have been more than 100 affiliated national unions on the International Rugby Board.

Advantages of Rugby 

The major benefit of playing football is that you can help bolster your general level of fitness. Rugby is a very physical sport that trains many various muscles in the body. This sport can improve your body’s cardiovascular system. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Playing rugby will also increase your overall level of confidence. Rugby is a competitive sport, so you will learn to face the challenges, and overcome them. It can help improve your mental well-being.

Besides, rugby is a team sport. You will learn the value of teamwork, and you can establish good relationships with your teammates.

Disadvantages of Rugby

Similar to American football, there is an exceedingly high risk of serious injury in playing rugby. 

American Football x Rugby: Main Differences, Similarities and Which One Is Personally Best
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Multiple talented players have to leave their careers because of injuries and odds are that sooner or later in your career you will still suffer from several kinds of injuries.

Another downside to playing rugby is that you need to invest in protective equipment as the sport is quite physical.

Conclusion

American football and rugby have comparable elements because of their common origins and similar game concepts. The huge difference between them is in the game rules. 

Now that you know about both of the sports, you can figure out which one suits you the best personally and give it a go.

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