Dfference between rugby and american football

Rugby and American football are two very popular sports with certain similarities to each other. In both sports, players from each team attempt to carry a ball behind the opposing team’s goal line. Meanwhile, the team that does not have possession of the ball tries to prevent the opposing team from being able to carry the ball to its goal line by blocking the player carrying the ball and trying to snatch it away.

Many people are unaware that there are differences between these two sports. These differences are mainly due to the type of rules and regulations that govern the development of the game, differences that will be pointed out in this article after showing a brief definition of each one.


Rugby is a collective sport born in England during the 19th century, in which two teams compete for control of an oval ball, which they must use to score goals or tries. It is an extremely popular sport, which is played in teams made up of fifteen players each, who will compete for control of the ball. Goals or points are achieved by taking the ball with the hands by a player to beyond the goal line, or by introducing it with the foot above the horizontal crossbar of the opposing team’s goal.

This sport takes place on a rectangular playing field 100 meters long by 70 meters wide and generally with a grass surface. The objective of rugby is to obtain the most points against the rival team from the following annotations:

  • Try (5 points, consists of supporting the ball in the area of ​​the opponent’s mark).
  • Penalty try (5 points, after the sanction charged by the referee for the rival team’s foul).
  • Drop goal (3 points, is a type of kick made by dropping the ball to the ground and kicking it immediately afterward).
  • Penalty goal (3 points, certain infractions are sanctioned with a penalty).
  • The conversion (2 points, the try achieved, the favored team has the right to kick the ball towards the posts).

Rugby has two variants depending on the league that is played. In rugby union, teams are made up of 15 players and in rugby league, teams are made up of 13 players. Also, although it is a sport that originated in England, over the years it became popular in countries such as New Zealand, Italy, France and Argentina.

📌American Football

American football is a collective sport born in the 19th century in the United States of America as a modification of English rugby. This is made up of two teams of 11 players each, who face each other on a field with a length of 100 yards (91.44 meters) divided into 10 equal parts and for four periods of 15 minutes. The main objective of the game is for each team to take the oval ball to the other end of the field to score a goal, a touchdown.

Each team has four opportunities or downs to advance 10 yards (9.14 meters), which are marked on the field of play. If you manage to go 10 yards or more, you have another four opportunities to move the ball forward, which can be done in various ways such as running with the ball in your hand or passing the ball forward to another player). At the same time, the opposing team tries to prevent the ball from advancing, in this way, the members of each team try to advance their position while the rivals try to prevent it.

As can be seen, there are notable differences between rugby and American football, not only because of their origins but also in terms of the structure of the game. These differences are summarized in:

📌Differences Rugby and American Football

  • In rugby, 15 or 13 players can play on the field of play for each team, while in American football 11 players play on the field of play for each team.
  • Normally, rugby fields are 100 meters measured from one goal post to the other while in American football there are 100 yards that are equivalent to 91.44 m.
  • In rugby, the goal posts are H-shaped with the crossbar 3m high and the posts are 5.6m apart, while in American football, despite also being H-shaped, they present the crossbar located at 10 feet (3.05 m) high and the posts are separated by 18.5 feet (5.64 m) and in some cases 23.33 feet (7.11 m).
  • Regarding the duration, a standard rugby match consists of two parts of 40 minutes each, while the duration of an American football match is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes.

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