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Differences between Rugby and American Football

Although many people outside the Rugby and American Football say that there are no differences, this is not true, not even close …

For those more sensitive or conservative people (usually even more female), they end up not being able to see beyond the alleged violence.

It is even for them, and also for the curious of course, that we made this article.

See now what are the differences between these two sports (or sports in Portuguese PT).


Rugby will have had origin around years 1830, being only in 1863 was constituted by an association that joined 21 teams.

American football, in turn, was created as an adaptation of Rugby in the year 1867 in a game between universities, but it took decades until the rules were similar to what they are today.



The protections used in the Rugby They are flexible and made of foam and can be scrum cap, jamb and protection nozzle.

Now American football, the protections are more obligatory and rigid, being made of plastic and aluminum, such as the helmet, shoulder padship pads, …


No Rugby, the passes can only be made behind or on the side. If the ball is handed over to a team-mate, it is not considered a pass.

If the player drops the ball, nothing happens, but if the ball goes forward, it is considered an infraction (knock on).

While on the American football passes can be made, as long as the thrower is behind the scrimmage, this in addition to being allowed back and side passes.

Rugby pass


The locks used in the Rugby are only allowed on the player who has possession of the ball. If other players are knocked over or impeded in any way, an infraction will be scored.

No American football only the player with the ball may be knocked over, but other players may also be blocked, provided he is not with any tackle.

Popularity and Dimension

Rugby is very popular in several places in the world, having very competitive leagues like the English, Australian, Neo Zelandia … The Rugby World Cup is the 3 most seen event of the World.

Already American football is almost only practiced in the United States and Canada, despite having many fans all over the world.

rugby stadium


The formation of a team of Rugby is made up of 15 players, being used for both attack and defense.

No American football the teams have 11 players for defense and 11 players to attack, alternating each time the possession of the ball also changes.

The teams have the starters, plus the reserves, plus the experts, coming up some NFL teams to have 60 players.

Game Time

In Rugby, the match is divided into two parts of 40 minutes each and the time in one is stopped except for when a player is injured.

While in American Football the matches have 4 parts of 15 minutes each and the time for each time a move for as well.


Although similar because they have an oval shape, the balls are also different.

The Rugby ball boasts is relatively larger and heavier than an American Football ball, weighing between 410 and 460 grams, while the American Football weighs about 200 grams.

Kick the ball

Rugby uses the kick in the ball as it passes (being the only way to pass to the front) but at the time of the kick, the player receiving the ball must be behind the ball line.

In American Football, the kick is only used to lighten the ball when the team reaches the 4 attempt or down. This kick is called punt.


The measurements of both fields are different, and in Rugby the field measures 150 × 90 meters while in American Football it measures approximately 110 × 49 meters.

These are not the only differences. The zones and markings in the field are quite distinct and both have poles, although they have different shapes and sizes.

Rugby’s have the shape of “H”, and the crossbar connecting the poles is 3 meters high.

And the American football looks like a “Y” except the top posts are parallel. This has the dash to 3,048m from the ground.

trave rugby


Not going into detail on how the scores are scored, let’s see what each of the sports are and how many points are worth.


  • Try (5 points);
  • Conversion (2 points);
  • Drop Kick (3 points);
  • Penalty Kick (3 points);

American football

  • Touchdown (6 points);
  • Extra-Point (1 or 2 points);
  • Drop Kick (3 points);
  • Field Goal (3 points);
  • Safety (2 points to the opponent);

And these were the differences between rugby and American football.

Did you know about them all? (And hey there are more) …

Answer this question in the comments and do not forget to also say what you thought of the article.

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