Which is the best code of "handling football"?
By John Welford
October 7, 2015 3:21am CST
There are several codes of football in which the foot makes relatively little contact with the ball. The four I have in mind are American Rules, Australian Rules, Rugby Union and Rugby League. The code that that is generally known as soccer (Association Football) cannot form a true comparison with the others because of its non-use of the hands (except by goalkeepers). I am familiar with the two rugby codes, slightly aware of American Rules and not at all aware of Australian Rules. My first impressions of American Rules are not good ones. There seems to be very little variety in the play, with a constant repetition of the same moves at very short intervals, interspersed with the players rearranging themselves while the clock is stopped. The sport is also infested by that appalling American innovation, the time-out - no wonder they need cheerleaders to keep the crowd awake! I also find it amazing that the players need to be encased in body armour and wear protective helmets - not something that is thought necessary in the other codes. I have seen a description of American Rules as incorporating two of the worst aspects of American life - extreme violence punctuated by committee meetings! By contrast, Rugby Union is a free-flowing game in which the action is continuous for 40 minutes (80 minutes divided into two halves). There can be interruptions for scrums and line-outs, but these are nothing like as frequent as the American scrimmages, and there are far more varieties of play. Rugby League is the closest non-American code to American Football, and is more stop-start than Rugby Union, but even it produces much more flowing play, uninterrupted by constant decisions over whether a ball was taken cleanly or was moved forward the requisite number of yards. I find it hard to understand why Americans get so enthusiastic about their code of football. There must be something in their psyche that finds excitement in constant interruption! Whatever it is, it's escaped me entirely!
2 people like this
• Manchester, England
7 Oct 15
I find American Football extremely boring and never waste my time with it. I would also find it difficult to differentiate between Rugby Union and Rugby League. Often I have sat watching a half hour of some game and could not even say which it was. As for Australian Football, do they have rules?
• Leicester, England
7 Oct 15
The basic difference between Union and League is that in Union a tackled player must release the ball but in League he retains the ball and passes it back to another player - after six tackles the ball is passed to the other side (but is usually kicked forward before this point is reached).
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
9 Oct 15
Aussie football looks like 'full-contact soccer.' en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football American football is run more like ... I'm not sure if it's a good comparison, but it seems like "war" (in some idealistic world where our enemies give us 'time to regroup & strategize between skirmishes). The reason why it matters 'how many yards they go' between each tackle is because that's (for the most part) how the team keeps-or-loses "possession of the ball." (When they get possession, they have four attempts to move the ball ten more yards toward the opposite end-zone; if they get tackled four times BEFORE they can move it four yards, they lose possession.) And the "encasing in body-armor" gives players the (probably false) sense that they can 'tackle harder' without worrying about insufferable injury.