basketball vs football

Basketball Vs Football – Which Is Better?

Basketball and Football are some of the most famous sports in the world today. They’re both exciting and competitive sports with millions of fans behind them.

There’s always a hard question to crack on Basketball vs. Football – Which Is Better?

Most folks believe Football is better than basketball since it involves many aspects like contact and endurance. Others believe basketball is better than Football since it’s more athletic and involves a lot of scoring, making it fun and exciting for the casual viewer.  

Well, Basketball is diverse, and you can play it regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, race, or socioeconomic group. In addition, it’s more inexpensive to play basketball than Football, which you can’t play with gear—which not everyone can afford, especially when starting. 

In this quick guide, I will discuss basketball vs football head-to-head to help you answer the question, which one is better?

Read on!

What Is American Football? 

In American football, two teams of 11 players face each other on a rectangular field. They play with an oval-shaped oval. Canada and the USA refer to the American football ball as “football.” 

When a team is in possession of the ball, we refer to them as the offense. Meaning they’re attacking the opponent. The offense can run, kick and pass the ball down the field toward the opponent. 

On the other hand, the other team tries to get the ball back and win possession.

The defense wins possession if the offense can’t gain at least ten yards after four plays or downs. But if the offense makes the ten yards, the referee awards them a new set of four plays and downs. They can then start advancing toward the opponent again. 

If a team advances up to the opponent’s end zone and makes a touchdown, they earn points. In addition, if a team kicks the ball through the opponents’ goalposts, they also earn a point—they refer to this as a field goal. The team with the most points wins the game.

Here’s the field goal points breakdown: Touchdown: 6 points. Field Goal: 3 points. Safety: 2 points. Try after touchdown: 1 point (Field Goal or Safety) or 2 points. NFL is the highest professional level of American football. 

What Is Basketball?

Basketball is where two teams of five players compete on a rectangular court to shoot a basketball into the opponent’s hoop. 

basketball net and hoop

The opponents must stop the offense from making a field goal. The referee awards two points to a team that makes a field goal. 

If a team scores a field goal from behind the three-point line, they earn three points. If a team commits a foul, the referee gives two or three one-point free throws—also called technical throws

The team with the most points at the end of four quarters of 12 minutes each (48 minutes total) wins the game. If the time elapses when both teams have the same points, the teams play overtime to determine a winner. 

Players play by dribbling and bouncing the ball on the floor while advancing toward the opponent’s hoop. They pass the ball around until they can score a field goal.

How do football and basketball differ?

American football and basketball differ in so many ways. Read on as I show you how the two sports differ in terms of ball shape, playing time, gaming style, number of players, and playing area.

Ball Shape

Players use a basketball in basketball. It’s spherical or round. Some basketballs are small, while others are extra large in diameter. 

For example, the basketball used in youth basketball is 27 inches (69 cm) long. It’s smaller than the one used by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), which is 29 inches (74 cm). The basketball for the National Basketball Association (NBA) is 29.5 inches (75 cm), while the one for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is 30 inches (76 cm) for men and 29 inches (74 cm) for women. 

Teams use a spheroid ball to play American football, commonly referred to as football. In the NFL, they refer to football as “Duke” after the pioneer of the game. 

Unlike basketball, which has different sizes for different leagues. Football has a standard circumference for both the NCAA and NFL to make it easy for teams in both leagues to throw and catch the ball. 

Playing Time

With playing time, a football game lasts longer than a basketball game. So, how many quarters in football should you expect? A football game has two halves of 30 minutes each or four quarters of 15 minutes each. Basketball also has four quarters, though they’re shorter and last only 12 minutes—meaning a typical game lasts 48 minutes.

players in a football game

Gaming Style

You can play American football by running with the ball in your hands, passing the ball, and kicking the ball. The offense team is the team with the possession and advancing toward the opponent. 

It starts with the center, who can pass the ball back to the quarterback. The quarterback then hands it off to the running back, who can throw it or run with it. 

The play ends if the ball hits the ground or the opponent makes a successful tackle. The offense has only four attempts of downs or plays. If they can’t advance the ball over 10 yards, the referee hands the play to the opponent.

You can play basketball through shooting, rebounding, passing, dribbling, and blocking. The game involves two strategies: zone defense, in which each player has a specific area of the court, and man-to-man defense, which involves a particular player from the opposing team.

Number of Players

A team of five players on each team faces each other on the basketball court. The team can travel with 12 players to the game and make unlimited substitutions. 

In American football, there are 11 players on the field during a match. A team can, however, have even over 48 players on the sideline for substitutions.  

Playing Area

Two teams of 5 players face each other on a basketball court. Basketball courts are designed in different sizes. For example, National Basketball Association (NBA) courts measure 94 x 50 feet (28.7 x 15.2 m). 

However, according to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), a basketball court should measure at least 28 x 15 meters (91.9 x 49.2 ft). 

Football players play American football on a rectangular field that approximately measures 100 yards (91.44 m) long between the goal lines and 160 feet (48.8 m) (5313 yards) wide. 

Just like basketball courts, football fields also vary in size. While they make football fields of grass or artificial turf, they make Basketball courts of polished wood like maple. 

Required Skill Sets for Football and Basketball


To become a better football player, you must master the following skill sets:

player in blue jersey catching the football
  1. Passing
  2. Tackling
  3. Punting
  4. Blocking
  5. Catching
  6. Ball kicking
  7. Pass defending 
  8. Pass stopping
  9. Pass stopping
  10. Reading opponent
  11. Running and route running


Here are the skill sets that are crucial to playing top-level basketball:

player shooting basketball
  1. Speed
  2. Shooting
  3. Dribbling
  4. Endurance
  5. Defending
  6. Rebounding
  7. passing agility
  8. Acrobatic ability

Positions Typically Played in Each Sport


Here are the most important positions in football:

football player stance
  1. Fullback
  2. Running Back
  3. Tight End (TE)
  4. Linebacker (LB)
  5. Cornerback (CB)
  6. Quarterback (QB)
  7. Offensive Linemen
  8. Wide Receiver (WR)
  9. Defensive Linemen
  10. Safety (S) is the last line of defense.

Special roles

  1. Kicker (K)
  2. Punter (P)
  3. Long Snapper
  4. Kick Returner (KR)
  5. Punt returner (PR)


The five players in a basketball team play the following positions and roles:

basketball player free throw
  1. Center
  2. point guard
  3. Small forward
  4. power forward
  5. shooting guard


Is basketball harder than football?

No, basketball isn’t harder than American football. Football requires more endurance and strength compared to basketball. It involves a lot of wear and tear and intense contact between players. But making it to the NBA is difficult. 

Is basketball more popular than football?

American football is more popular than basketball. However, basketball is also famous of late and is only going mainstream thanks to renowned basketball players like LeBron James.


That’s all there is to it. You now know everything there’s to know about basketball and American football. 

Now that you know this information, you can decide which is better and which is your favorite. Basketball has five players on each team, and football has 11 players per team. 

Hopefully, it’s clear how the two games also vary in terms of ball shape, playing time, gaming style players, playing area, and skill set.

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