Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Football, No Problem: Rugby to Fill Void

by Milton Kent

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This weekend threatens to be a rough one emotionally for millions of Americans as it's the first since last summer without football. And with talks between NFL owners and players for a new collective bargaining agreement stuck in a perilous fight, that collective ennui could go on for a while.

But not to worry, football fans. Dave Sitton has the cure for what may ail you: Take a few hours of rugby and call him Monday morning.

The linkage isn't so far-fetched, says Sitton, who will analyze more than 15 hours of USA Sevens Rugby coverage this weekend for NBC and Universal Sports, since a lot of what we know as football has its roots in rugby.

For instance, what we know as scrimmage is related to scrummage, a rugby term that involves one player placing his hands in the crotch of another player to receive a ball to start a play.

Sound familiar?

"It's not as radical (the linkage between football and rugby) as some might think," said Sitton, who has coached and played rugby for more than 30 years. "There's a logical progression both historically and tactically that will allow a first-time viewer who watches football to understand that we don't have a Super Bowl unless there's rugby."


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