A small gripe

I’ve spent a lot of time today watching American Rules Football. (Please don’t judge me; I live in the US and it’s kind of ubiquitous on Sunday.) I generally get irritated at the general dearth of brain cells present in the analysts, but usually the commentators are only slightly below average. Today, however was more irritating than usual. On two different occasions two different sets of commentators described a particular situation as a ‘scrum’. Which is all well and good, except they weren’t scrums. If anything, they were rucks. The ball was on the ground and players from each side contested it.

For the benefit of any NFL commentators who may be reading this, a scrum is a relatively orderly restart. It’s most akin to the start of every NFL play; everyone stays on their feet and push against each other. It looks like this: Scrum (Source: Wikipedia Commons)
Watching how they play out, you will see that, when done properly, no one goes to ground and there is never any fighting for the ball.

Compare that to a ruck: Ruck (Source: Wikipedia Commons)
Several players are on or near the ground, and although there are much stricter rules on how the ball can be retrieved it is clearly much closer to a fumble in a Yank Rules match. Unlike in the scrum, the players around the ball are actively contesting it, though not to the same extent as seen in a Yank Rules match.

I admit that it can be confusing for those who aren’t familiar with it. I would suggest that Yank Rules commentators simply avoid the word ‘scrum’ altogether, especially those who can’t speak English properly at the best of times.

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