Football is the most popular and beloved sport in the world. There are over 3 billion fans who passionately follow their favourite club, their national team, and eagerly await the World Cup every four years. Understandably, the popularity of the sport has led to quite a few offshoots in countries around the world.

One example of this would be Australian Rules Football. As you can imagine, AFL originated in Australia. A contact sport comprised of two teams, each with 18 players, AFL more closely resembles Rugby, then football proper. In that way, it is very similar to American Football.

Created in the United States, American Football is a contact sport, played between two teams of 11 players. The NFL is one of America’s biggest sports organisations, commonly called “The 4 Major Leagues.” The similarities between AFL and NFL often gets people to wonder what makes them similar and what makes them different? In this article, we answer that very question.

AFL vs. NFL: Sports Betting

Sports betting is a hugely popular pastime among fans in both Australia and the USA. It is, therefore, understandable, that one of the big similarities between the AFL and the NFL is that both attract a ton of punters. In 2018, the USA passed a law, legalising sports betting on a federal level, which only served to boost the number of people who openly place wagers on National Football League matches.

On the other hand, online gambling and sports betting have always been legal in Australia. Australians have a long and storied tradition of gambling. Indeed, the country is one where gambling is most popular. For those who may not know, online sportsbooks are just one small part of the larger iGaming industry. The term often refers to online casinos, where gambling enthusiasts can play all of their favourite games.

An example of such a casino would be the Joe Fortune online casino, which is a very popular website among Aussie. Though Joe Fortune does not feature a sportsbook, many gambling websites do double as bookies. Which means that, if you’ve ever been interested in sports betting, you need not look further than your PC, or your smartphone to find a top quality service.

AFL vs. NFL: The Teams

One of the big differences between the AFL and the NFL is the composition of teams. You might have already picked up on this fact, as we briefly mentioned it before. It starts off simple enough. Two teams comprise a game in either sport. However, what differentiates the two is the team composition.

In Australian Rules Football, a team is comprised of as much as 18 players. Naturally, this results in a completely different team structure, dynamic, and positions. On the other hand, American football is closer to traditional Association football, with 11 players per team. The difference in players is one of the major differences between AFL and NFL teams.

AFL vs. NFL: The Field

Let us take a look at the field itself now. The field is one of the most obvious differences between the Australian Football League and the American National Football League. Whereas the NFL field is square, the AFL is circular, or more accurately, oval. But it doesn’t just stop at shape. There is also a big difference in size.

An American Football field is usually 91 meters long, and approximately 49-50 meters wide. Big to be sure, but designed to hold 11 players on either side. On the other hand, we have the Australian Football League field, which is designed for 18 players on either team. Coming in at an incredible 135-185 meters long and 110-155 meters wide, the AFL field is a lot bigger than its American counterpart.

AFL vs. NFL: Popularity

It is now time to look at the popularity of each sport in their respective country, and beyond. Starting with the AFL, there is no denying that it is incredibly popular. Much more beloved than the A-League, the AFL is Australia’s biggest Australian Rules football league. Indeed, Australian rules football is the country’s favorite sport.

However, as popular as it is in the country, Aussie footy has never gotten any wider world recognition. The sport’s success tends to be limited to Australia, with a minor success in New Zealand as well. But, where does that leave the NFL?

Not only is the NFL a much more popular organization, but it is also the much more popular sport. In the United States alone, the NFL gets a lot more media attention, news coverage, and fan following than the AFL does in its own country. Not only that, but American football has garnered quite a lot of international attention, becoming very popular in countries like the UK, Germany, and even Japan.

AFL vs. NFL: Players

Hopefully, you’ve gotten a grasp on some of the differences between Australian rules football and American football. However, it is important to note that, for the most part, the two games are very similar. After all, they are both derivatives of Rugby, which is itself an association football variant.

The two sports have similar rules, similar playstyles, and even similar positions. If you need further proof of that, all we have to do is take a look at some of the players who have transitioned from Australian rules football into American football. In this final section, let’s go over a few Aussie footy players who took on the NFL.

Darren Bennett

Darren Bennett began playing Australian rules football at a young age. He soon got renown as an excellent kicker, and got a lot of attention. Enough to leverage his career and enter the NFL. Over the course of his career he played with the Minnesota Vikings, the San Diego Chargers, and was even inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame.

Ben Graham

In 1992, Ben Graham joined Geelong during the pre-season draft. Chosen for his athletic capabilities, the man proved he had what it takes, taking up the key-position, and being the MVP in various matches. Soon, he got international fame, and was recruited by the New York Jets. During his tenure in the NFL he played for the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Detroit Lions.