Rugby VS. American Football

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by RugbyVSFootball, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. RugbyVSFootball

    RugbyVSFootball Academy Player

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    Hi there. I am an American, and I am researching why people prefer Rugby over American Football. Besides the obvious fact that American football occurs in America, is there a reason why you would choose to watch a Rugby match over American football?

    Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague First XV

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    Personally it's as simple as that rugby'a what's played here. I play it, I understand it, I enjoy it. I'm sure that if I understood American Football I would probably get into it but it just isn't publicised over here.

    Also pads are for pussies ;)
     
  4. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose First XV

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    Howdy. As a longstanding NFL fan who has switched to rugby union it is the rule changes in the respective sports that have made me switch.

    I've typed at length about this before so will keep it a little briefer.

    The NFL rule changes over the past two decades have reduced the importance of the physical battle of running back & O-line versus the defensive "box". We see empty backfields on 3rd and short when there used to be jumbo packages.

    They also created two tiers of players, with QBs getting all manner of special treatment. I watched the London game last weekend, Dolphins vs Saints; the commentators at one point stated, without apparent humour, that current QBs like Brady and Brees could play into their 50s in the current NFL. Whilst that is an exaggeration, I think a supposedly physical contact sport having non-kickers playing into their late 30s (and beyond) is a bit of a joke and another example of how the sport has changed from one I loved in then 80s and 90s.

    Perhaps hypocritically I find myself enjoying rugby union more as the emphasis on the set piece (scrum and lineout) is reduced a little and a greater percentage of the game involves the ball being in play and the aspects of the game I enjoy most (running, tackling a runner, passing out of contact) are increasingly prominent. The rule changes balance the contest more evenly between offence and defence in rugby more than in the NFL and in rugby no quality team should ever be looking to have a player in their mid to late 30s playing, because they will be so far from their physical peak. You can tackle a flyhalf the same as any other player. Every position gets the same treatment in the rules and teams without an "elite" flyhalf can compete better than teams without an "elite" QB.

    Both games have sped up to chase excitement and marketability. I just think rugby has gone about it in a way that is more true to the roots of the sport than the way the NFL did. All of course a personal preference!
     
  5. Groundhog

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    As someone who enjoys both games hugely, the key difference between rugby and Gridiron for me is pacing. Rugby as a game is something that demands your full attention over 80 minutes as the game is non-stop and dynamic. In Football, the amount of stoppages, timeouts and the like make the viewing style a lot more laid back and casual, to the extent you can pop out for a beer pretty regularly and not miss much unless you're watching an absolute offensive shootout.
    Also I feel that pretty much anyone can watch and enjoy a game of rugby without a very firm grasp of the rules because the momentum is obvious, whereas if you haven't grown up watching and playing american football it will take quite a lot of time, focus and even research to grasp the rules, with the switching between offensive and defensive units a totally alien concept in particular. They're both enjoyable, but I find rugby a lot more accessible for a beginner. I've thought about trying to play American football here in Ireland a few times, but learning a position would be too much hassle at this stage.
     
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  6. Tigs Man

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    Like both but the amount of breaks and commercials are something i will never get used to when it comes to american football.
     
  7. FrenchFan

    FrenchFan First XV

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    Rugby is better. Can't think of another reason.
     
  8. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker First XV

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    I like the way the NFL officials explain decisions to the crowd via a mike and that's about it. Otherwise too stop start and too much by a play book for me. Not a fan of all the padding and not being able to see the players' faces as the action unfolds leaves you feeling slightly remote from them. Having only half the team on the field at any one time also feels odd.

    I also find baseball highly tedious, but am quite prepared to watch swathes of test cricket so I guess it's mainly what you're bought up with and instinctively understand.

    Much prefer basketball where the action's more continuous and the players' athleticism and skills are more obvious.
     
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  9. mania

    mania First XV

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    i played both. grew up in NZ and played rugby all my life. then in my late 20's i hung out with a gridiron team, drank their bar tab dry so they made me play for them.
    started out as a tailback and fullback for a couple of seasons then moved to D as a linebacker, defensiveEnd and strongSafety. we'd play a lot of what we called ironmanFootball where we played both O and D. that was awesome!!! most kiwi players prefer it this way and tbh this is the way it should be played.
    i ended up playing 11 years and won 7 championship.
    i loved it and i imagine that if it really took off in NZ then a whole bunch of other islanders that are too big to play rugby would play it as well.
    however the mentality of a standard rugby player is not suited to gridiron. rugby players dont like getting blindsided when they dont have the ball...lol scares the sht outta them.
    it is an awesome sport and the hits are way harder in gridiron than rugby. we had jerryCollins at our trainings and we were always trying to get him to suit up but he wasn't allowed due to his rugby contract, but he loved coming to watch and was itching to get on. thats the kind of players you want in gridiron. those that love the contact.
    i loved the fitness levels. i did a lot of sprint fitness so i got bigger and faster, which meant my hits and runs got bigger and faster.
    i loved playing gridiron but i cant be bothered watching it. i'll make time to watch superbowl if the steelers are in but the rest of the time its incidental if i catch it.
    when i was younger i couldnt be bothered watching rugby but would play as many games a week (i played league as well) as i could. so i'd clock up 3-4 games a weekend. but watching it was alien to me.

    to answer your question its just local culture that decides which sport u play. also doesnt help that gridiron has much more expensive equipment than rugby. but the girdiron rules are easier to learn than rugby
     
  10. mania

    mania First XV

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    u dont gotta wear pads, but youll get smashed.
    lots of rugby players would say that to me and I'd reply "AmericanFootball is a mans sport. now i'm going to put on my tights"
     
  11. themole25

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    Since I am American, I guess I'll answer this.

    I'd rather watch NASCAR than NFL. It has to be the most boring sport in the world. Baseball and football are Americans favorite sports and they both take approximately 4 hours to complete.

    Give me a rugby game I can watch in 100 minutes or so and then I can have the rest of my day.

    Also: rugby doesn't ********** to flags, doesn't reduce the lifespan of participants, and has more than 12 minutes of action.
     
  12. AM_Bokke

    AM_Bokke Academy Player

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    I am a late 30s American.

    As a youth I played football, soccer, basketball and baseball. Football is the sport I liked playing the most and played the longest into my teens. Basketball and soccer I never liked - too much focus on small, solo coordination skills. And baseball was OK but I played catcher and really appreciated being involved in each play. If I didn't play catcher I doubt that I would've liked baseball as much. But baseball has a kind of "mystic" that I find appealing. It is different than other sports.

    As far as my upbringing goes, my father received a college football scholarship. He didn't play much at that level but he was good enough to get one and be on the team. Football was therefore the primary sport in my household in terms of spectator entertainment and overall knowledge.

    I don't play organized sport anymore and I am now primarily a spectator/fan/consumer. As a spectator, I find that hockey, soccer and rugby are the sports that I like the most. They are fast paced and exciting because each one can leave you on the edge of your seat and require fitness and skill. As far as football goes, I still think that the NFL is a pretty good entertainment "product" but that's really what football feels like to me. Almost no one plays football. There aren't pick up games and I have never heard of a recreation league. It feels more like a spectacle than a sport. It's like the NFL is to sport what Broadway musicals are to art... kind of ridiculous. The pads and helmets, the breaks in play, hundreds of coaches, the incredibly specialized positions, the huge squads. It's all too much. I kind of think it's a farce.

    Now my child is a girl. I have never heard of girls playing football. I know that there is the odd girl on a high school football team every now and then but there are not girls' football leagues. But women play rugby! Lots of people play rugby. It is an international sport for people of all shapes and sizes that includes running and physical play on a big grass field. FUN! As a parent I am interested in rugby and wish that I knew about rugby as a young person.
     
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  13. Caitlyn Jenner

    Caitlyn Jenner Bench Player

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    This is a very accurate summation of my thoughts too.
     
  14. The Alpha Bro

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    I can't stand American football to be honest, thought a super bowl with the Patriots in it in 2015 (I think) was ok and was informed that was one of the best games ever so it's not for. As someone who needs to support a team and follow individual players to get into it it really doesn't appeal to me to have huge squads with most players doing very niche thing, the stop start nature of it certainly doesn't help either. Rugby has a huge advantage because I grew up on it and understand it intimately but the fact I can throw on almost any game from any top league and have at least one player that I enjoy watching play helps hugely. I prefer Basketball to American Football as well for similar reasons, although I've never played it, as well as it being more of a showcase for world class athletes whereas the best athletes in the NFL have few opportunities to impose themselves on a game from the point of view of someone who's never played it. The smaller squads leading to bigger personalities in basketball help a lot as well, Cleveland, Boston, Minnesota, Houston and OKC will be intriguing to watch this season with plenty of big name players playing together without being contenders due to Golden State's dominance.
     
  15. themole25

    themole25 First XV

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    I only ever watched NFL cause of the eagles.

    Rugby and basketball are my two favourite sports to watch.
    I don't really support teams I just like to watch an entertaining product. Nba has great story lines and the quality of play right now is the bests it's been in my lifetime.
    I love watching rugby but I'd enjoy more focus of players and there personalities. Haskell vs marler two weeks ago was awesome to watch.
    Players not being interchangeable is something that rugby has over gridiron.
     
  16. themole25

    themole25 First XV

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    Grew up loving and playing hockey. Since the cap came in the league had turned to ****. I'd rather have 6 great teams than 31 mediocre to awful ones.

    Now that Sunderland took the drop and our national team are about to blow qualifying I've been watching a lot less soccer.

    I apologise for double posting.
     
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  17. AM_Bokke

    AM_Bokke Academy Player

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    yeah, I remember in the 90s all of the best players were always in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the trade deadline was like the beginning of the "real" season. While the trade deadline still matters the teams don't have the financial flexibility anymore to make sure that all of the best players are always in the playoffs, which is bad because there are great players like Jonathan Huberdeau at the panthers that I have never seen play because his team is not good enough to make the playoffs and he has a large contract so can't be traded easily . I still like to follow the Stanley Cup playoffs though. I think that it is very compelling when one of my teams make a deep cup run.

    But hey, I saw your post about the NFL - AFL merger a few weeks ago and I was thinking that the better comparison for rugby union league structures and finances going forward is the NHL and WHA in the 1970s. The NHL was a very well established but small league in terms of teams and markets and the WHA was created because the sport was seen as a growth opportunity. New arenas in the 70s are sort of the equivalent of broadcasting deals in the early 2000s in that investors were just trying to throw enough sporting content at them to see if people would attend (now watch). Hockey, like rugby, is a sport that most people at least know about but have very little playing or cultural relationship with. But in the regions where it is big, it is pretty big.

    Some WHA teams survived and merged with the NHL but most went out of business. In the current professional rugby landscape of financial losses (England, Oz, France, SA, probably more) I can't really see all of the professional teams surviving. I think that sports broadcasting has peaked financially. Fewer people are watching pretty much all leagues - NFL and English Premier League included. ESPN is laying people off. An interesting broadcasting deal up pretty soon in the states is college football's Big Ten and we will see how it goes.

    Yeah, I see sports broadcasting contracting and I think that will lead to investors leaving the market and a further contraction of the total number of professional teams.
     
  18. The Alpha Bro

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    Aye I don't really follow a team in the NBA, I like Portland and OKC because Lillard and Westbrook are amazing to watch. Few enough options to watch it here so it's mostly YouTube but I'll always look out for big names going against each other when I can watch a match. Hoping for reasonably competitive conference finals this year, the east shouldn't disappoint in that regard.
     
  19. Groundhog

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    I'd say that for the NFL as well. They'll fine you for farting in the wrong direction while also doing nothing to protect the future health of their players, and it's becoming a politicised mess from every possible direction these days. I have no dog in that fight, but it's incredibly tiresome.
     
  20. mania

    mania First XV

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    they need to get rid of the helmets. its what makes u feel like a superman
     
  21. themole25

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    It would help... but it's mainly the football culture in America that's so bad.

    Coaches are teaching 12 year olds that the team is more important than your body or brain and you should play through everythjng. Facemasks were introduced because guys figured out you could just break the others guys nose by hitting them in the head. Instead of banning high tackles they introduce more gear.
     
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