As the saying goes, rugby is the brute’s game played by gentleman, but there’s a recent American league that looks to challenge the sport for that title: no pads tackle football. Behind this version of football is the American 7s Football League, founded in March 2014.
Once again, the league has been making the rounds on social media with a highlight video featuring big hits and pops meant to satisfy the carnal appetite of the American sports fan looking for people to run hard and fast into one another — the league has previously gone viral with a highlight package from 2017. It delivers on that promise with wonderfully generic background track meant to invoke basically every fan made “Biggest NFL Hits!!!” video on YouTube.
There is one group that’s not impressed. The New Zealand All Blacks, the country’s national rugby team, quote tweeted the highlight video with a response of “cute.”
For those have been around the sport of rugby, this should come as no surprise. Rugby fans and players can often be at the level of hockey fans and players when it comes to negging others to like their sport by invoking the inherent toughness of their purportedly underappreciated game.
But also like with hockey, there is some truth to that argument, however annoying one may find it. The All Blacks have perhaps the biggest argument for being the toughest and scariest squad in the world given they start all international matches with a Haka, a Māori ceremonial war dance.
That being said, there are some differences between the two sports in question. For one thing, there’s a lot about the no pads football that makes it significantly less safe than rugby is. The highlight clip of the A7L includes crackback blocks, forward passes, that would be against the rules in rugby.
This danger hasn’t deterred investors, for what it’s worth. Rapper Snoop Dogg has taken to social media to say he wants to get in on the league. The rapper has started his own California-based youth football league, Snoop Youth Football.
But back to the tweet at hand. On one side, you have an upstart football league trying to sell itself with big hit videos on various social media platforms; on the other, there’s the second-ranked international rugby squad in the world amplifying the video. While a debate could rage about which sport is more impressive, the winner here is the little league that’s trying to become bigger getting a push in views from a world-famous team.