In school my friends and I played rugby, and occasionally played football too, flag/touch football basically. For the latter we were ridiculed. People asked, 'Why would you not just play rugby, it's way tougher'. All around Europe and indeed the Southern Hemisphere, if you asked a sports fan which is tougher, American Football or Rugby, they would scoff in reply, 'Rugby, definitely rugby.'
American football players in Ireland/Europe are often referred to as 'wimps in armour'. It's the same old story, if you don't understand something, knock it. That's almost a mantra on the Emerald Isle.
I found this answer on 'Yahoo Q&A', to the question which is tougher, thought it summed up perfectly the view outside the States to which is harder, Rugby or American Football.
''Rugby, American football is for girls: all that padding and stuff! ;-) Real men play Rugby''
If you, the readers, were a congregation and I was a preacher this is the section of the sermon where the noise and murmurs and 'amens' would start to build up as I actually approach my point. I am here to tell you, brother, I am here to tell you, yes I am here to tell you that American Football is way, way tougher than Rugby. Ronan O'Gara, Brian O'Driscoll, I am sorry! Whilst Rugby players are fine, fine athletes and undoubtedly tough individuals, folks. there's a reason football players wear all that gear!
I played Rugby in school, and whilst it was tough, and people often got injured, it was absolutely nothing compared to my experiences with the Irish American Football league. My team, the DCU Saints, have had more injuries in half a season than I saw in 5 years playing Rugby, and the injuries are more serious too.
There's no doubt about it, football is a vastly more rugged and violent game than rugby, and anyone who says otherwise has clearly not had the pleasure of being sacked from their blind side by a speeding maniac who weighs 270lbs and is wearing another 20lbs of equipment too. The same maniac often gets a running start and is quite literally trying to bury you in the ground.
Check out some of the injuries the DCU Saints have suffered in the first part of the season
- Damaged spleen (season ending)
- Broken sternum
- Torn hamstrings
- Soft tissue damage to the knee
- Lower back injuries (season ending)
I remember rugby. I remember the cold November evenings, hands freezing waiting for the ball. I remember the odd bump and bruise. I am telling you right now, Rugby is nowhere near as rough and tough as American Football. Not even close actually. From my own perspective, as a QB, getting sacked is the most violent part of my day. There are other players (The honest, hard working linemen) who go through infinitely worse, however from my point of view, getting sacked is about as much fun as invasive dental surgery.
One minute you are holding the ball (too long probably!) surveying the field for a receiver. Then, out of nowhere, someone grabs you. If you are lucky they grab you and bring you down. If you are unlucky you are hit on the fly. You spend a split second thinking 'Well, I guess I better hold on to the ball' and then wham, you are on the ground. Best case scenarios the linebacker or lineman rolls off you, worst case scenario, it was a few of them and they land right on top of you. To date my favourite sack came when two guys hit me at once and I ended up spinning up over them. That was fun.
So next time you are in a Dublin bar and someone blurts out drunkenly, 'American Football is for wimps', just punch them in the face.
They don't know what they are talking about.