Difference between Football and Rugby

Key Difference: American Football is a sport that lasts an hour and includes 11 players on a field. Each team has to move the ball 10 yards in four down, if they fail the ball is given to the opposite team, if they pass they get another chance to move the ball another 10 yards. Rugby football lasts around 80 minutes long and does not include any time outs. The match begins with the kickoff and the teams fight for the possession of the ball. The team that receives the ball can run with it, kick it or pass it backwards. The opponent can tackle the ball carrier anytime during the game. The objective of the game is to earn points by touching the ball the opposing team’s goal line or kicking it through the opposing team’s goal post.

American Football and Rugby are completely two different games. There aren’t a lot of similarities between the game, everything from the size of the field to the rules are different.

American Football is a sport that lasts an hour and includes 11 players on a field. The two teams line up opposite each other at the start of the game. Receiving player can either run with ball or pass the ball. Each team has to move the ball 10 yards in four down, if they fail the ball is given to the opposite team, if they pass they get another chance to move the ball another 10 yards. The objective of this game is to score points by carrying the ball to the opposing team’s end zone. Other ways points can be scored is by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s goal post, catching a pass thrown over the goal line, tackling and opposing ball carrier in his end zone.

This differs from Rugby football in which a game is of 80 minutes long and does not include any time outs. The referee may however, keep time and stop time during substitutions or injuries. A rugby team in union is allowed to have 15 players on the field at the time of play. The match begins with the kickoff and the teams fight for the possession of the ball. The team that receives the ball can run with it, kick it or pass it backwards. The opponent can tackle the ball carrier anytime during the game. The objective of the game is to earn points by touching the ball the opposing team’s goal line or kicking it through the opposing team’s goal post.

In American football a touchdown is worth 6 points, while in rugby (union) a try or touchdown equivalent is worth 5 points. American football players are divided in offense and defense, while in rugby players are divided into forwards and backs. Forwards are usually larger and stronger people whose jobs is to possess the ball, while the backs are generally smaller and faster and their jobs is to exploit ball positions. In American football each player is given a set post or job, compared to rugby whose players can play in offence and defense.

In American Football the ball can only be passed forward, while in rugby the ball has to be passed either sideways or backwards. Kicking in both sports are allowed in any direction. In rugby, other than tackles, scrummages, rucks, mauls, and lineouts, no other contact is allowed.

For more differences refer to the table below:

 

American Football

Rugby

Number of Umpires/Referees

3-6 referees

1 referee; 2 assistant referees

Time limit

4 quarters of 15 minutes each

2 halves of 40 minutes

Timeout

3 time outs in each half per team

No time outs allowed

Object of the Game

The object of the game is score points by taking the ball beyond the opponent’s touch line and kicking the ball through the goal posts.

The object of the game is to score points by touching the ball down on the opponent’s try line or kicking the ball through the goal posts.

Substitution

Unlimited

7 substitutions allowed in a game

Number of players

11 on the field

15 on the field

Field

109.7 meters (360ft) long and 48.8 meters (160ft) wide

100 meters (330 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) wide

Ball

A prolate spheroid which is about 11 inches (279.4mm) long and about 22 inches (558.8mm) in circumference at the center and weighs around 0.875lbs.

A prolate spheroid shaped ball that is 280-300mm in length, 740-770mm in circumference of length and 580-620mm in circumference of width.

Protective gear

Helmet, Shoulder/Chest pad/protector, upper leg padding and mouthguard

Mouthguards, head gear that is not thicker than 10mm, non-rigid shoulder pads and shin pads.

Penalties

Football is moved towards the opposing team’s end zone. Kicks are awarded

Kicks or scrums are awarded

Structure

Fixed roles for every player

Each player is allowed to touch or advance the ball

Scoring

Field goal is worth 3 points, touchdown is worth 6 points, try for extra point is worth 1 or 2 points, and safety is worth 2 points

A try is worth 5 points, conversion kick worth 2 points, penalty kick or drop goal worth 3 points each.

Image Courtesy: wikimedia.org, ercrugby.com

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