Four Very Different Forms of Football

Robert Morley was a portly British character actor who appeared in many movies.  One thing that he is less known for was his advocacy of eliminating the balls from all ball games.  He had a croquet set up in his garden and took guests there to play croquet without a ball.

Needless to say, his crusade has never caught on.  There are innumerable games played and watched by billions of people all over the world all of which use balls as the medium of progress.  Ice hockey famously flattens the ball and calls it a puck.  Badminton uses a fluttery ball.  Online casino games use any manner of special aid for players such as no deposit bonus codes but many of them also use balls.  The balls in card games are, well, cards.

Soccer Players Competing for the Ball

Let’s face it, ball games are here to stay.  Interestingly, there are many variations of football played around the world.  Here we’ll describe a few of the most important football variations.

Universal Football

When we discover life on other planets, we’re sure that they will be playing what most of the known world calls football.  It’s called soccer in the United States and Canada because they have their own brands of football.

Soccer is the most egalitarian of all ball games.  The best team on the pitch may be far better than the opponent but a lot of games between clubs of vastly different talent end up with the score of 1-0.

There are two main reasons for that.  The size of the pitch makes it hard to sustain an offensive thrust from one’s defensive end all the way to the goal.  The second reason is the offside rule which keeps speedy offensive players behind an imaginary and moving line that crosses the pitch from through the defender closest to his goal.

Soccer is called the beautiful game because even with a huge talent advantage over an opponent, it still requires a great deal of creativity and skill to get even a single chance to score a goal.

American Football

This game is as far removed from the previous form of football as summer is removed from winter.

Whereas soccer has almost non-stop action, American football has almost non-stop inaction.  The players run a play and then huddle together in wonderful male bonding and camaraderie during which the leader announces the next play.  Play-huddle follows play-huddle for sixty minutes on the clock.  The clock stops for many play outcomes so a game may take two hours to complete one hour on the clock.

American football uses feet to propel the ball far less than in soccer or Australian football.

American football is known for its enormous violence.  Many players suffer devastating injuries playing this game and many suffer cognitive loss years after they’ve stopped playing because a football player’s head receives powerful blow after powerful blow.

In American football, there is unlimited substitution and almost no players in the past 50 years have played on both offense and defense.

Touch football has all of the same rules but players do not tackle their opponents; rather they simply touch them.  This reduces violence almost entirely and is the primary form of football played by American kids in informal playground games.

Canadian Football

This game is very similar to American football with a few major differences.  The players in Canadian football are smaller than in the US so the violence is tempered somewhat.  The field is much bigger making speed even more important in Canada than in the US where speed is extremely important.

In Canada, it’s harder to maintain possession of the ball so teams throw the ball more than in the states.  This makes the game less violent overall and makes it more exciting as well.

In Canada, there are twelve players on both offense and defense which has benefits for both sides but opens up the offense quite a bit.  Canada also has unlimited substitution.

Australian Rules

In Australia, they call their brand of football footie.  It hails from 1858 which makes it far older than both American and Canadian football but much younger than soccer.

Each team has 16 players.  They play on an oval field.  Players can advance the ball by kicking it or running while holding it.  If a player runs with the ball, he has to bounce it often.  Violent collisions are very much frowned upon; players wear little if any protective equipment.

Aussie rules football is played at high speed.  The best players are the fastest runners, the best at running while controlling the ball with their feet, and, especially, the kickers since scoring in this game is done entirely by kicking.

Popularity of Football

By far and away, the most popular spectator sport in the world is international football or soccer.  Billions of people call themselves soccer fans and stadiums fill at many games.   It is amazing to soccer fans that Americans don’t like it very much.  Americans are frustrated by the low scoring and don’t appreciate the evenness of the sides despite broad differences in skill.

Americans are also frustrated by the offside rule which they feel takes too much away from the offense.

The rest of the world loves soccer and thinks that Americans, and to a lesser degree Canadians, are foolish to love such a violent game as North American football.  American football has been tried in Europe with but fleeting success.  One game each year is about as much as most British soccer fans can handle.

Aussie rules football is popular only in Australia although Americans enjoy watching it on television on those rare occasions when an American sports channel carries a game.

There are many variations of football as in the above-mentioned touch football.  These are all designed to make American football safer for kids.  Soccer fans point out that soccer is perfect just the way it is with no need to alter the game to accommodate ten year olds.  There is something to be said for that.