Ultrabook Project: Australian vs. American Football
One of will.i.am’s favorite adventures in Sydney was when he, and the Ultrabook Project team, visited ANZ Stadium, the official home of the Australian rules, Sydney Swans. While there, they met with the Swan’s Captain, Adam Goodes. Goodes is a two-time Brownlow Medalist (highest honor), four-time All-Australian Team member and member of the Indigenous Team of the Century – in other words, Goodes is a true champion.
However, it wasn’t Goodes’ status as a hometown sports legend that impressed will.i.am the most. What really captured his interest was Goodes’ activism for Aboriginal Rights, his philanthropic works and his efforts to be the kind of role model his fans could admire. It was his drive to use his celebrity to help others that made will.i.am take notice.
As long as they were already on the field, will.i.am decided to take a shot at playing a little football Australian-style. After a few failed attempts and some tips from Goodes, will.i.am was kicking the footy (the ball) like a native.
Although there are some similarities to American football, Australian football is a completely different sport. Here are a few of the differences:
- On the field, Americans wear about 46 pounds of protective equipment. In Australia, the footer wears no protective gear; concussions are a common part of the game.
- American football is played on a rectangular field that’s 100 by 45-yards. The Australian footy field is not regulated, so it can vary from 164 to 202 yards long and between 142 to 164 yards wide.
- An American football team fields 11 players at a time from a squad of 80 players. An Australian footy team fields 18 players at a time–all but 3 of its total 22-member squad.
- Both versions of football consists of 4 twenty minute quarters.
- In American football, the clock can be stopped for a penalties, incomplete passes, time-outs, etc. However, in Australian football, the clock runs constantly and, because the time keeps running, coaches use runners to relay messages onto the field to the players.
- In American football, a team scores 6 points for a touchdown, 1 point for an extra point, 2 point for a conversation and 3 points for a field goal. To score in Australian football, the footy needs to be kicked between the goal posts without being touched. There are four posts at each end of the field; the behind posts and the goal posts. Kicks in the goal posts are worth six points, while the behinds are worth only one.
- The 32 teams in America’s National Football League (NFL) are broken into two conferences, the NFC and AFC. The top eight teams from each conference go to the playoffs, and the winner from each conference plays in the Super Bowl. The Australian footy league is made up of 16 teams, the top eight teams with the most points and percentage at the end of the season go into the playoffs, with two winners battling for the Premiership.
- The average annual salary of an American football player is: $1.9 million*. The average annual salary of an Australian footy player is around 125,000 Australian dollars (roughly $65,000)**
*Data: National Football League; National Football League Players Assn.