A Brief History of Football and Rugby
Association football, also known as just football, is an international team sport usually played between two sides of eleven players each. It’s played on an oval or circular field. It’s the most popular non-stop sporting event on earth, according to the organizers, with sales figures running to billions of dollars annually. It’s played by more than 250 million people in more than 200 countries and derivatives, making it the most popular sport in the world. It’s a simple game, and many children learn it from their parents as young as five.
Youth football follows the same basic rules as other ball games. It begins with a throw, kick or pass from one team’s side to another side’s side of the field. It ends with the ball in the opposite field from where it started. The sport players wear football helmets, and the rugby players use rugby equipment.
The point of the game is to score more points (“picks”) than the opponent (“kicks”). Each team has three tries to score a point when their ball is in play inside the opponents’ goal. The game usually begins with the offense setting the ball up in the center of the playing field, with the defense defending their goal. The offense will take two quick passes and then run or pass to the opposing goal. When the offense runs or passes, the defense will engage in “covering” actions. These include pushing the ball out from the goal line to block a possible kick or pass, or trying to stop the ball from touching the ground before it can be touched.
Rugby is played between two teams of fifteen players each, with each team given fifteen minutes to play. Unlike American football, rugby was created as a “contact” sport; players roll around on the field, using their feet for much of the action. In contrast, American football evolved as a “pass” sport, wherein the ball is passed between players through the air. The earliest known football game in America was played between students at the University of Georgia in the mid-1800s. It was called Association Football, and football evolved into its present form in the United States during the Industrial Age.
As you can see, both football and rugby originated in the United States. They have evolved into two different American sports with varying levels of skill and competitiveness. The game that most Americans are familiar with, of course, is American football. However, even gridiron football has roots in the United Kingdom, especially England, where it was called “Rugby.”
Both American football and rugby can be played by two teams of eleven players each, and both require passing and kicking. Unlike soccer, rugby does not use a ball. The only way to score against another team in either game is by kicking the ball over the goal line or scoring a touchdown through the end line.