Similarities and differences between rugby and American football

Rugby and American football seem very rough at first sight. However, people say that if you try any of these sports once, you will always return to them. Many people mix these two sports up. There are similar, but they have a lot of differences too. In this article, we will deal with them both.

Why do people mix up rugby and American football?

Many people think that rugby and American football are the two same things. At first sight, these two sports seem very similar, especially if you don’t come from a country where one of them is popular. The players, the ball and the field look the same to a layman, so it is easy to get mixed up. Still, as far as we have learned about the mentioned sports, these sports are not the same. We will tell you more about it in the following text.

Similarities between rugby and football


Even though rugby and American football are different sports, we can’t deny that they have some similarities.

First of all, they are both contact and team sports, and the playing strategy seems similar at first sight.

In both sports, the players use an egg-shaped ball. They shoot on goals which look the same in both sports. The ball is not added to the front teammate, but to the one behind. The aim is to lay the ball behind the goal lines and score a touchdown.

To achieve the goal, the players in the formation move towards the goal, but the defense stops them using their strength and bodies. Therefore both these spots are very dynamic, requiring strength, speed, and agility. A try brings five points, and conversion brings two points.

Differences between rugby and football


Rugby is especially popular in France and England, and it is even played at school. American football, as the name suggests, is much more popular in the US.
The number of players in a rugby team is 15, whereas American football team has 11 players.One of the most obvious differences is in the safety equipment. American football players need to wear a helmet, a shoulder and chest protector, upper leg padding and a mouthguard. Rugby players wear significantly less safety equipment. Only a mouthguard is mandatory, and they are allowed only modest protection pads on shoulders, head, and collarbone.

Although both rugby and American football are contact sports, an average contact is also much different. The number of average tackles per player is four in American football, while that number in rugby goes up to 16.

Length is another important difference that has to be considered. In American football, four quarters last 15 minutes, with a half-time intermission after the second quarter. The game clock frequently stops between plays. Rugby is played in two 40 minute half times, with a ten minute half time. The game is more dynamic because the clock only stops for prolonged injuries, which is not the case with American football.