5 Reasons Football Players Crossover in Rugby

When looking at the sports of rugby and American football, it is easy to see parallels. To the layman, the shape of the ball, the physicality of the competition and scoring play similarities can seem strikingly alike. That said, it is easy to understand why players would transition from one sport to the other.
Because these sports are similar, rule differences can be picked up pretty quickly. If an athlete can’t have the career they would like in football, rugby provides another option. In American football, the goal is to take the ball across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through their goalposts to score points. In rugby, points are scored by placing the ball on the opponents touch line, or by kicking it through their goal posts as well. With the general purpose of the game being so alike, making the switch to rugby seems like a natural fit.
The biggest concern with football and its longevity moving forward is concussions. Frequent high-impact plays are producing an alarming number of head injuries. Rugby has shown less potential for these injuries. An athlete looking to prolong their career may want to make the switch from football to rugby. In fact, some National Football League, NFL, insiders want the league to do away with facemasks claiming it would cut down on head injuries.
Another reason for possible transition, is a football player’s potential to excel. In many cases, football players begin training at a very early age and are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world. Even football players who may not make active professional rosters often have the ability to translate to other athletic endeavors. Switching sports isn’t entirely one sided. There have been several rugby players who have tried their hand at American football. The latest being Jordan Mailata, who was drafted by the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles in April.
The popularity of these sports varies depending on what part of the world you live in. In the United States rugby takes a back seat. Internationally rugby can be more popular. The United Kingdom and Australia are two good examples of this. That said, an athlete moving from the United States to another country may have no other choice than to pursue other options.
Another reason football players may want to pursue rugby is that the game is still so new in the States. Players can get in on the ground floor to help develop and steer the US version of the sport for future generations. They can also compete on the world stage as a part of the Summer Olympics. That is a perk that America football just cannot match.
Regardless of the reason, football players are slowly moving toward rugby. Both games have plenty to offer athletes looking to partake in contact sports. It is important to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is the best option for a given athlete.

Written By Ryan Cooper