Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Super Bowl Bound Brits: Understanding American Football

Posted on February 03, 2015 by John Harris

Great Britain is a country rich in culture, with a diverse language and a patriotic and proud people who live on a European island serving Queen and country. Fish and chips at the pier, tea and crumpets during lunch, passing the time with online casino games or watching the footie on the telly are all standard fare.

But just across the Atlantic you will find our long lost brothers from yesteryear, a culture built on freedom and ammunition, America. A country made famous in the media for its delicious fast food and muscled heroes. But, none of these things mean anything without all-American Football!

Also known as football or gridiron, American football is a strategic game that originates from rugby. The game is all about making sure your team has as much territory on the field as possible.  The offensive team has control of the ball and they have to ensure they make up as much ground as possible without being stopped by the defending team.

There are also multiple zones on the field and, depending on how much ground the offensive team has made up, these will determine whether or not they retain control over the ball.

Typical equipment worn in American football includes bulky shoulder pads as well as kneepads and a gridded helmet. Although all this protection may seem a little unnecessary to us, as rugby players don’t make use of them, it sure helps preventing major injuries as seen in traditional football back in Europe. 

American football happens to be the most popular sport in American society and has been since 1985 when it overtook baseball. The annual Super Bowl is virtually a national holiday and the entire country huddles around the TV to watch this reflection of American culture and tradition.

To put it simply, we’re mad about football!

The Differences

There are several key distinctions between rugby and football which break down like this:

Many of these distinctions vary according to the specific match rules or the location where the game is taking place but these are the most common differences.

Top 10 Players for 2014

These lists are always disputed but these 10 players from each sport are accepted as among the current best in the world.

American football has been rocked by several controversies over the years including the infamous OJ Simpson trial, the Minnesota Vikings Love Boat Scandal, New England Patriots Spygate and Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Ring. Overall, however, the sport is considered to be run basically as cleanly as rugby.

Football is so popular that you can even go to college for free based on how good you are at it.  It’s a sport that is so familiar to every single American that despite their geographic and cultural differences they are instantly united as countrymen to play a sport that not only helps them to be patriotic, but also encourages a national team spirit of camaraderie while providing the viewers with great entertainment.

Samuel Kerr has never missed a Super Bowl. A man with a passion for travel and sports, he likes to post all about his experiences online. Look for his interesting articles on a variety of travel, family and recreation websites.


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