Those who have grown up in places where rugby is popular will have always compared it to American football, as it is the sport that is most like it. This is something that would have also been done at least once by lovers of American football, for the same reason. While not being the same sport at all, those who are not interested in sports may find it difficult to distinguish the two given the similar style of play. While this can prove annoying to players and fans of both sides of the sport, it is important to give the right information to these people, so they can better understand how the two are different.
It is hard to argue that the two sports do not have their similarities. If they did not, the uninitiated would not keep making the mistake of thinking that they are the same sport. They are both contact sports, meaning that physical play between players is encouraged. This differs from other sports where contact is limited, such as tennis or golf. The ball is also similar in shape as both sports feature an oval-shaped ball designed with passing in mind. Of course, both enjoy a rich betting scene though those in places like Wisconsin, information can be found here, will need to peruse other avenues of backing their favourite teams. However, this is where the main similarities end and those who are not into the sports may find that there are a host of differences between them.
When it comes to the number of players on the field, rugby allows a massive 15 with eight reserves that can be called upon, effectively forming a 23-man squad. In comparison, American football allows 11 players for each team to be on the pitch. Another difference can be found within this collection of players. In American football, when one team has the ball, they are called the offence, and the other team is called the defence. This, of course, switches around depending on who has possession and differs from rugby who do not use such labels to differentiate the run of play. American football is also unlike rugby in that there is a special team that comes in for set plays, such as punts, kickoffs and field goals. In rugby, the specialist players are generally already on the field and will be involved with all parts of play.
However, the clearest way in which the two sports are different is when it comes to the pass. This is a basic mechanic in most team sports, and one of the most important. In American football, players can pass the ball wherever they like as the key is to keep possession and get the ball downfield. With rugby, players can famously only pass backwards, which means that the way that game is played changes dramatically. This is why people in the know consider the sports to be so different despite their similarities, as only passing backwards and being able to pass anywhere will always naturally create different game states.
Those who were previously confused with how American football and rugby differed should now feel more comfortable when it comes to telling the two sports apart.