American Football vs Football

The world is confusing enough as is, so what happens when two completely different sports end up being called the same thing? That’s right, we’re talking about football. So, what is football? The answer will depend on who you ask – making it all the more confusing.

If you asked an American, it would be looking at the difference between soccer and American Football. The answer would be pretty straightforward, soccer has a round ball while American Football has an oval ball similar to that used in rugby. Soccer involves kicking the ball while American Football allows the ball to be thrown, based, and kicked.

Asking anyone else in the world what football is, and they would most likely be referring to soccer – also known as Association Football. So, if these sports are so different, why do they have the same name?

Choosing The “Right” Football

Most people view soccer as the “real” football, however, both forms of football have interesting origin stories which have contributed to the naming.

Football: This is the shortened version of Association Football. The term association was added to the name to differentiate the game (soccer) from the rugby football that existed.

Soccer: This comes from the term Association Football, while rugby football has been shortened to “rugger”. This shortening is believed to have happened with Association Football, leading football to refer to soccer.

The Americans chose to use soccer as the naming convention to differentiate the sport from American Football. While the term soccer has gained traction across the globe, most people refer to the sport like football. In fact, in Britain, there has been a dramatic decline in the use of the term soccer. If you want to cause waves, refer to football as soccer in the UK, the fans will not be happy.

When you look at it, American Football is more like rugby if you were to compare the different sports, which is why it is so puzzling that it gets confused with soccer.

The Similarities

  • Both sports require 11 players
  • Both have 3 referees; however, American Football can have up to 6
  • They are both contact sport

The Obvious Differences

  • Football has a single goal while American Football has the option to score a touchdown (6pt), a field goal (3pts) or a conversion (1pt).
  • American Football has four 15-minute quarters while Football has two halves, 45 minutes each.
  • Football has a round ball while American Football has an oval ball.
  • American Football has one league, National Football League, while football has several
  • American Football is only played in the USA and Canada, while the rest of the world plays Football
  • Football does not have a player size restriction, however, American Football does
  • American Football has unlimited substitutions, while Football only allows 3
  • The only protective gear in Football is shin guards while in American Football, players wear helmets, shoulder and chest pads, upper leg padding and a mouthguard

Football In a Nutshell

And there you have it, football vs football all summed up. Hope this helps to clear things up – or start a debate with fellow totes betting and sports fans. The choice is yours.