The Difference between Rugby and American Football

July 19, 2022 by Staff

There are 11 players on each squad in American football, which is a two-team sport with unrestricted substitutes. The goal of American football is to advance the ball across the opponent's end zone as quickly as possible in order to score points.

The easiest way to define rugby is as a combination of American football's contact, soccer's sprinting, and basketball's transition. The purpose of the game is to kick or run with an oval ball through the top part of the opponent's goal posts. In terms of coaching both sports are very similar.

American Football and Rugby Compared Side to Side


American Football


Players on the pitch

11 players per squad are on at all times

Union squad consists of 15 players

Goal of the game

To advance the ball across the opposition's touch line with a sequence of run and pass plays in order to score. This is what's known as a "touch down" (6pts). After a touchdown, you can convert a field goal (3 points) by kicking the ball between the goal posts.

The goal of the game is to kick the ball between the goal posts or carry the ball and put it down on the opposing team's touchline (dubbed a Try).

Time frame

A halftime break follows the second quarter's four 15-minute periods. Between plays, the game clock regularly pauses.


A ten minute halftime separates the two 40-minute halves. Time is only stopped for serious injuries.

Current champions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers        

New Zealand All Blacks

No. of referees

3-6 officials, plus booth review


There are four referees, which include the TMO , who uses cameras to determine whether tries that the referee cannot see or where the results of an illegal violation are valid or invalid. There are also 2 vice referees.

Gear used

Upper leg padding, a mouthguard, and a helmet are enforced.

Only light padding is permitted for players' heads, shoulders, collarbones, etc. All that is needed is a mouthguard.


No limit

7 maximum substitutions permitted   Once a player is pulled out, they can't be put back in unless they get hurt and there are no other players.

Ground size

120 yards in total, including a playing surface measuring 100 yards (91.44 meters) and two end zones measuring 10 yards (9.144 meters). 160 feet wide (48.768 meters)

100 (120m if the "goal area" of the end zone is included) by 70 meters, including a 20-meter attempt area.

When ranking both sports, the most common thing between the two sports is that they are both loved by betting enthusiasts. Since both American Football and Rugby are considered to be very exciting and fast-paced games it makes them good candidates for a wager. The world's most reliable and safe gambling operators consider American Football and Rugby to be a good way to keep their customers engaged and satisfied.

In American football, each given team has eleven players on the pitch at once. Three timeouts are allotted to each team per half. The game starts with a kickoff.

A "play from scrimmage" is when two teams line up across from one another. The ball-holding player can either pass or sprint with the ball. Each team has 4 downs to gain 10 yards. If they don't, another team will have the chance.

If they are successful, they get four additional chances to advance the ball 10 yards. The primary goal of the game is to advance the oval-shaped, pointed ball towards the opponent's end zone in order to score points.

Rugby: The forwards and backs of a rugby team each make up five players. Forwards are typically the biggest and strongest players on the field, and their focus  is to get the ball.

Back holders are often tinier, quicker, and more nimble, and they exploit ball possessions. The teams fight for possession after the opening kickoff.

The person on the team that is receiving the ball has the option to either run with it, kick it, or pass it horizontally or behind him to any other player on his team. The ball holder can be tackled at any given time by an opposing player. No other contact is permitted outside of that..

Even risky tackles are prohibited and subject to harsh penalties. The player must instantly surrender the ball after being tackled in order for the game to continue. A goal is made when one of the sides crosses the other team's goal line and touches the ball on the ground (five points). The winning side has the chance to add two more points to its score with a conversion following each try.