OK there has been a lot more publicity surrounding rugby thanks, in part, to the Olympics. The downside? Rugby keeps getting compared to American Football. Why is this such a bad thing? Well, I’m glad you asked…
First and foremost, rugby players, at most, will wear thin foam pads if any. Football players on the other hand wear huge pieces of foam and plastic that more resemble crash protection on a car than sporting equipment.
Rugby players play both offense and defense. If a rugby back makes a 60m break and gets caught they still have to get back up and support their team mates. Too often you see an NFL running back make a 60 yard run only to tap out, go sit on the bench, and huff oxygen until they’re ready to get back on the field.
Speaking of fields, the rugby pitch is 70m (77 yards) wide by 100m (110 yards) long. A football field is only 53 1/3 yards wide and 100 yards long. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference on paper but it’s a big difference during game play.
American football players normally average about 16 minutes of playing time per game where as rugby players will normally play an average of 45-60 minutes, not including stoppages.
Your typical rugby forward will go into contact between 75 and 100 times per match between both attacking and defending scrums, rucks, tackles, and mauls. American football players, except for lineman and depending on the position, will only make contact an average of 10 times per game.
Obviously, rugby is the superior sport. It’s the lack of knowledge surrounding this great sport in this great country that is keeping it down. Increase the knowledge and understanding and I think you’ll quickly see the scales tip, sports networks find alternate ways to bring in advertising money without commercials, and youth programs begin to develop world class athletes that will easily be able to compete on a global scale.
Even now, with the relatively small amount of national participation, the US national team is continually ranked within the top 20. Just imagine if we put more effort into a global sport and became the actual world champions instead of the self-proclaimed world champions of a sport that is really only played on our continent.