The Art of Performing, Part I

American Football vs. Rugby

Of all the visual arts, the one performing art that is watched by the greatest number of appreciative spectators each year is not what you might think.


No, it’s not tap, ballet or modern dance. It’s sports, and professional sports in particular where there is true artistry in performance. Hence, a performing art.


Since we’ll be looking at the similarities and differences between American football (by which we mean American gridiron football) and Rugby, we should mention that American football is played almost exclusively in (you guessed it) America, while Rugby is most watched in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, the British Isles, France, Italy and South Africa. 

So what exactly are the main similarities and differences between these two sports? Which came first? Which is more violent? Which is more civilized? 

Rugby is best described as a blend of soccer (continuous running action), American football (violent contact) and basketball (continuous passing of the ball to other players).  

In American Football, the ball is typically passed forward whereas in Rugby it can only be passed laterally, with running and kicking advancing the ball.  

Players in American football each specialize in the skills needed for their particular position, whether that be quarterback, center, running back, tight end, etc. 

Rugby players on the other hand must be specialists in all aspects of the game and able to run and dodge with the ball, punt, throw spiral passes (underhanded) out of both hands, catch passes, place kick at various angles from all over the field and make a variety of tackles. 

Part II will cover the action in American football vs Rugby, so stayed tuned for the second portion coming later this week.