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Football or Soccer?

We all know that in South America, nothing is bigger than football and no team more popular than the Samba Boys. But when we talk about football, we mean two goals either end with twenty-two men trying to put a round ball into the back of the opponents net – with superstars like Neymar netting magnificent goals in Europe. In other words, what the USA would call soccer. To the United States of America, football is a completely different ball game – quite literally. Soccer may be growing in popularity, but it will never reach the heights of the well-loved game of American Football. But what is it about the game that gets those Americans so excited? Let´s take a look at everything this game has to offer. It may share a name, but it couldn’t be more different.

Football or Rugby?

Many people, having seen a game of American Football comment on its similarity to rugby as opposed to football. Well American football came from a mix of association football and rugby. This merger and the change of rules were instigated by Yale University student, Walter Camp, who is now considered to be the ‘Father of American Football’. Some of the changes he instigated were: the introduction of line of scrimmage; down-and-distance rules as well as the legalisation of blocking.

Professional American football goes back as far as 1892 and it was in 1920 that the American Professional Football Association was formed.  Eventually this became known as the National Football League (NFL) and then became the Major League of American Football. It went from being a sport primarily played in Midwestern industrial towns to becoming the biggest sport in the USA.

American Football, as we know it today, really started back in 1932 after the NFL Playoff game. This was the very first indoor game since 1902 and was the first to include hash marks, forward passes behind lines of scrimmage and the moving of goal posts back to goal line. The game’s popularity, however, really only exploded around the 1950s and in particular can be linked to the 1958 NFL Championship Game – since named as the ‘Greatest Game Ever Played’. The NFL does have a rival league, the AFL (American Football League) and a merger between the two leagues led to the ‘Super Bowl’ the most popular sporting event on the USA sporting calendar.

The Difference

Despite the name ‘football’, there are very few similarities. Teams both have eleven men, but that’s really where the similarity ends.

Football, as we know it, is a 90 minute game, consisting of two 45 minute halves. However, American Football lasts just 60 minutes and is split into four 15 minute quarters. The objective of football is to score goals, whereas in American Football it’s all about scoring points by carrying the ball past the opponents touch line or by kicking it between the field goal goalposts. An obvious difference is the shape of the ball – a round ball compared to a prolate spheroid shape. In American Football you can sub players an unlimited number of times; however, in football just 3 subs are allowed in a match.

The biggest difference, however, is in the worldwide popularity. Football is a huge game the world over, with exciting worldwide tournaments such as the World Cup. It has top leagues all over the world, such as the Brasileirão Série A,  the Premier League  - who are always signing up top Brazilian players -  such as Fred, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga. However, American Football is only big in the USA, so tournaments are kept within the country.

Betting on American Football

Obviously, if you’re a sports betting fan, then you can bet on American Football at an online betting site – either for mere recreational purposes and/or if you think have an edge as far knowledge. Betting on American Football is becoming more popular now, and you can bet on all of the major NFL games and tournaments around. However, there is no event more popular to bet on in the world of American Football than The Super Bowl.

This game is one of the most watched yearly sporting events across the globe. In fact, the only game to eclipse it is the UEFA Champions League Final. The success of the game sees people that would never normally place bets on the game having a go. The Super Bowl is at the very top of the tree when it comes to sports betting, so if you’re new to American Football then this is the perfect game to get your teeth into.

It might not be what we see as proper football, but nonetheless, American Football is huge and its popularity is spreading. If you like football and like rugby, then it’s the perfect merger of the two.


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