American Football is often compared most closely to rugby. There are a lot of similarities between American Football and Rugby. So why is Rugby better than American Football?
Why is Rugby better than American Football? Rugby is better than American Football because Rugby has fewer stoppages, is more physical and is a much more international game in terms of nations who excel at it. Rugby is a fast flowing, aggressive game with high contact and dramatic moments. American Football, as seen in the NFL, is a padded up, watered down, sterilised version best viewed only on highlight packages.
If you have never watched rugby before, then there is a good comparison to make with American Football. Both sports involve trying to tackle a player who is running with the ball in their hands. There are also however a few reasons why rugby is a better sport than American Football.
One of the main reasons why rugby is better than American Football is that there are far fewer stoppages in a game. American Football tends to stop every 10 to 15 seconds, while rugby has phases that last multiple minutes. That free-flowing style of game makes things much more interesting for fans.
Fewer stoppages also means that for fans watching at home, there are fewer adverts during a game, which may mean less revenue for broadcasters,. it should also make the game much more exciting to watch from home and in the stadiums.
In terms of not only the fans who follow the sport but also the players, rugby is a much more international game than American Football which has really failed to take a hold outside of the US in terms of people playing the sport at a high level or being able to attend matches regularly.
There are only a couple of minor professional American Football leagues outside of the USA. Whereas in Rugby, there are many different countries who play the sport and have also been the best in the world before. Being more international helps to make the game more exciting as a whole.
The international game means you get players from all around this world. This brings different styles and different strategies which makes the game more exciting as a whole. While the NFL’s culmination at the Super Bowl always attracts huge audiences, many of those fans wouldn’t have watched one down of football before the big game. Similarly the high school and college game attracts a cult-like following in certain parts of the US, but that is not replicated elsewhere in the world.
You can also say that the game of Rugby can be a lot more physical at times. While American football players might fly into hits more, rugby players do not wear any sort of protective padding or a helmet, so the collisions hit a lot harder. The game and the players involved are a lot tougher than American Football. They are almost far more skilled, being able to morph between not only field positions, but also having to play both attack and defence.
It is not just the play on the field which is more physical. American Football players get to rest throughout the game. Whereas, rugby players have to attack and defend, so their physical condition and stamina is much more important. Rugby is played over 2 gruelling 40 minute halves. An NFL game is 4×15 minute quarters, with lots of rest breaks and the majority of the players only playing either attack or defence.
In terms of playing the sport, rugby is certainly a lot more accessible. With American Football you need the correct pads and helmet first before you can play. Whereas with rugby, a gum shield and a gym membership are really the only protective equipment you need to buy and it is a lot cheaper than buying all of the equipment for American Football.
During the game, rugby is also much more about the contest between players. In rugby you are not allowed to screen or obstruct players like you can in American Football. This makes rugby safer, as well as more exciting to watch because individuals can shine more in rugby.
Also, women’s rugby is far more popular than women’s American Football. There has been a huge amount of growth in women’s rugby over the last few years and there is not really a women’s American Football game that has become as popular or exciting in recent years.
Why is rugby not as popular as American Football?
There are a huge amount of similarities between Rugby and American Football. Despite that, Rugby does not get the same viewership or engagement as American Football.
Rugby does not have as many personalities, has had far less investment and is not as suitable for TV viewing. There are quite a few different reasons for Rugby being not as popular as American Football despite the sport being more international.
One of the main reasons why rugby is not as popular is that it has not received anywhere near as much of the same investment as American Football. Rugby has been professional for fewer than 30 years so money has only been flowing into the game for a relatively short time.
This lack of investment means rugby has struggled to compete with sports like Football and American Football for TV viewership especially. Rugby has been overshadowed by other sports on TV and so the modern-day audience are not playing or watching the sport as much.
Rugby also struggles with creating superstar personalities. American Football is great at building superstars who become role models for the youngster watching the game. When there are not enough role models, kids don’t grow up watching the game and therefore the sport is not as popular in the long term.
One of the other reasons why rugby is not quite as popular as American Football is that the game is seen as quite complex. While open play is not too difficult to understand, it get’s a bit complicated when you start to involve the set piece.
If you don’t understand what is going on at the scrum, lineout, maul or ruck, the sport as a whole can get pretty confusing. This quite often puts off new fans who want to watch the game and so people tend to watch more American Football.
Which is tougher, rugby or NFL?
Rugby and the NFL are often compared because of the similarities of the game. Due to that, there has been a lot of talk about which one is tougher.
Rugby is most likely the sport which is tougher compared to the NFL. Rugby is tougher for a variety of reasons. One of the main ones is that rugby does not wear the same protective equipment as American Football.
There are not the same helmets and pads in rugby as there are in the NFL which makes the game much tougher. The collisions tend to be a lot more physical and difficult for the players involved.
Also, there have been a few different players who have played both sports. They often say that rugby is tougher, particularly at the highest level. Playing in the NFL is still very tough, but with fewer breaks and a longer game, rugby is definitely the tougher sport.