American Football vs Rugby

American Football vs Rugby – What is the difference between?

American Football vs Rugby: American football is a competition between 2 teams with 11 players in each team’s lineup squad with unlimited substitutions. This is an intensely physical sport with a complex strategy to score points by passing the ball to the opponent team’s end zone.

On the other hand, Rugby combines the contact of American football, the running of soccer, and the basketball transition. This is a game played between two teams with 15 players in each. Rugby will be played on a rectangular field. In a particular rugby game, the player’s object is to run with an oval ball across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through the upper portion of the goalposts. If a player passes the opponent team’s goal line, they will score a point for their team.

READ: Champions League vs Premier League: Which Is the Best?

Comparison chart

American FootballRugby
DefinitionAlso known as Gridiron is an intense game that requires players have speed and power. Before the match start, players need to put on their helmets and padding in order to protect themselvesRugby is a game with intense physical aggression and necessary endurance. Rugby professional players require speed and agility in several positions, others require strength in order to form a perfect starting lineup in union
Number of players11 players per team15 players per Union
Time limitGridiron football games last for a total of 60 minutes in professional and college play. They are divided into two halves of 30 minutes and four quarters of 15 minutes.Two 40-minute halves with a ten-minute half-time. The clock only stops when having injuries.
Major LeagueThe National Football League – NFLEnglish Premiership Rugby, French top 14, New Zealand Mite 10 cup, Australian National Rugby Championship, South African Currie Cup, European Rugby Champions Cup, Super Rugby
CountriesThe USA, CanadaWorldwide
Major Tournament The NFL playoffsRugby World Cup
SubstitutionUnlimitedAllowed up to 7 players (depending on the tournament rules)
Protective GearA helmet, Shoulder pad, Chest pad, upper leg protector, and mouth protector are requiredOnly mouthguards are required in the games
Field size Length: 109.728 meters, width: 48.768 meters in total. Furthermore, the end zone of each team requires 9.144 meters120 meters if the end zone is included in the field
Current World ChampionsTampa Bay BuccaneersNew Zealand All Blacks (Rugby Union World Cup)

American football vs Rugby rules comparison

In American: There are 11 players on the field for each team. During the match, the team will have unlimited substitutions. Each team gets three time-outs per half. Two teams will line up in opposite positions from each other.

When a kick-off signal is released, the receiving player can run with the ball or pass it to their team mated. This depends on the strategy that the head coach wants. Each team needs to pass the ball at least 9.14 meters within 4 downs in order to score points. However, if the team fails, the other gets the chance to score points.  The main objective is to score points by advancing the pointed oval-shaped ball into the opponent’s team’s goal area.

American Football vs Rugby rules

Besides, there are different things to know about rugby rules. A rugby team has 15 players, which is divided into the offensive and the defensive lineup square. The offensive lineup squad often contain stronger player from the teams. The defensive lineup squad is usually having smaller, faster players. When a kickoff signal is released, the player of the receiving team can run with the ball, kick it, or pass the ball to any other player.

During the match, no contact is allowed besides tackles, scrummages, rucks, mauls, and lineouts. When a team has crossed the opposing team’s goal line and touched the ball to the ground, a try is scored (five points). After each try, the scoring team has the opportunity to score two more points with a conversion.


Rugby vs American football injuries

In American football, 11 players from each team need to compete on every inch of the field. That makes this sport extremely dangerous if players do not have good fitness. Before the match kick-off, players need to wear full protective gear which makes them look like a warrior going into a war zone.

This sport was a too dangerous event the former US president Barack Obama was afraid of the violent factors before the Super Bowl League started. He said that, if he had a son, he need to consider hard before allowing his son to play the most common sport in the USA. He also said that American football needs to be less violent.

Rugby vs American football injuries

Unlike American sport, in the case of Rugby, any kind of screening and obstruction to players who do not have the ball is not allowed. This is the main reason why Rugby is much safer.

Strategy comparison

In the strategy aspect, Gridiron football is a sport of set and counter-movement. This is similar to chess but players need to use everything he had to prevent the opponent from getting points.  On the other hand, Rugby is a more free-flowing spontaneous game.

Rugby vs American football geographical differences

American football is usually common in the USA and Canada. On the other hand, Rugby is played across the globe with plenty of strong teams such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Europe.

Rugby vs American football geographical differences

Here is the comparison between American football vs Rugby, you can see more in the same article “American Football vs Soccer“. If you want to know more about the differences between each sport, instantly update the sporting difference for more detail.

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