What are the differences and similarities between basketball and football? Which one is better?

What are the differences and similarities between basketball and football? Which one is better?

Lenah Ann
updated at June 11, 2023 at 9:56 AM

Basketball and football are among the most famous sports worldwide. Although they are different in many ways, such as the court size, the size of the ball, and the dress code, they both have a massive global fan base. A basketball is dribbled with two hands and scored on a basket, while a football is played with the feet and head to score against the opponents.

Difference between basketball and football
The Las Vegas Raiders warm up during a mandatory minicamp at the Las Vegas Raiders Headquarters on 8 June 2023 in Henderson, Nevada. Photo by Ethan Miller
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The two sports have a rich history and tradition and have been around for decades, and comparatively, they are both among the wealthiest sports worldwide. Look at the differences and similarities between the two giant sports and determine which is better and why.

Basketball and football

For amateurs who want to know more about the two sports, they need to understand the characteristics that make them stand out from other sports. These qualities can help individuals select one sport over another while their interest is at heart.

Compare and contrast basketball and football

Generally, when comparing the two sports, the main difference and similarities between them are highlighted, and in doing so, it is understood that they could not be more different. There are more differences between the two giant sports than what meets the eye, and on the other hand, there are fewer similarities.

Difference between basketball and football

Similarities between basketball and football
Anthony Davis (left) of the Los Angeles Lakers & JaMychal Green (right) of the Golden State Warriors battle for postiton during the game during Game Three of the Western Conference Semi-Finals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on 6 May 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Adam Pantozzi
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Although basketball and football are popular worldwide, keen fans understand that more differences separate them from other sports. Here are the main differences between the two giant sports.

  • NBA balls are round with a good bounce, while NFL balls are oblong and give erratic bounces when they hit the surface.
  • The shape of the NFL balls makes them easier to catch and fly, contrary to the NBA balls.
  • Regarding the weight and size of the balls, the basketballs are larger and heavier than the footballs.
  • NBA courts are shorter and much narrower than NFL fields, which are larger, long, and wide. Courts measure 94 feet by 50 feet, and on the other hand, professional fields measure approximately 360 feet by 160 feet.
  • Most professional courts are made using wood; on the other hand, fields are made using synthetic or natural grass.
  • NBA rules and regulations speculate that each team can have five players on the court at a given time, while the NFL rules state that 11 players are allowed on each team.
  • On the roster, basketball allows up to 15 players, while football allows between 50 and 85 athletes depending on the level of the competition.
Between basketball and football, which is the richest?
Nolan Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during OTAs at the NovaCare Complex on 8 June 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mitchell Leff
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  • Generally, NBA matches have more scores than NFL ones.
  • In the NBA, two or three points are awarded for a field goal and one for a free throw, while in the NFL, six points are awarded for each end zone touchdown and three points for a field goal.
  • Football has a lengthy game duration compared to basketball. Professional and college ones last 60 minutes, and high school ones last 48 minutes. Professional NBA games last for 48 minutes, college games for 40 minutes, and 32 minutes for high school matches.

Similarities between basketball and football

There are fewer similarities between the two sports, which range from timeouts to the presence of referees on both platforms. Here are the main similarities between the two sports franchises.

  • Both have referees to regulate and prevent foul play
  • Both have rules and regulations that govern how the game is played
  • Both franchises are wealthy and can afford to pay their athletes
  • Both franchises are primarily based in the United States of America
  • Both are considered a team sport
  • Both have stoppage timeouts that might be because of halftimes, fouls, and penalties

Between basketball and football, which is the richest?

Compare and contrast basketball and football
LA Clippers guard Eric Gordon (10) and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) battle for the ball during the second half at Crypto.com Arena on 20 April 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Gina Ferazzi
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According to various online sources, the NBA ranks third among the wealthiest franchises in the world, while NFL ranks second after soccer. As of 2023, the NBA has a cumulative net worth of approximately $90 billion, while the NFL is estimated to be worth $200 billion.

Basketball and football cards

After analysing data from various sources, it is denoted that the NBA cards are worth more than the NFL cards. They are at the top of the list with the highest price tag, followed by football, baseball, and finally, hockey comes fourth.

Best basketball and football colleges

The best college basketball and football teams have dominated, thanks to their coaches and cultures. According to various online sources, here are some of the top 5 best college teams dominating the two franchises.

Best basketball teams

5. Kansas Jayhawks

The college basketball team has been dominating the NCAA since the 20s under coach Phog Allen and currently under Bill Self. The teams have been around for a century.

4. Duke Blue Devils

Duke has been a powerhouse in the ACC producing formidable players with remarkable skills that ended up playing for top NBA teams. Their success is owed to Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Foster, who helped rise to the Final Four in 1978.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have been on the polls for more weeks than any other college basketball team and have made 20 Final Four appearances. Additionally, they have won six National Championships.

2. Kentucky Wildcats

Although the Wildcats have fewer Final Four appearances, they always come out strong on every record contested. They have always taken the lead in the NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16, and Elite Eight appearances and won eight National Championships.

1. UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins have dominated the franchise since the 1920s and have continued to do so till now. They had one of the best coaches in the game's history, John Wooden, who led them to win the NCAA title in 1971-1972 and ranked fifth in scoring.

Best football teams

5. Clemson Tigers

Led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence and coach Swinney, the Clemson Tigers delivered one of the best seasons in the program's history.

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Although most teams they faced lost by more than 14 points, the Cornhuskers scored a combined 638 points and 50 points in six games and conceded only 174 points.

3. LSU Tigers

The Tigers were ranked number in the nation and the national champions after defeating Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson.

2. Texas Longhorns

The Texas Longhorns were ranked among the best college football teams after winning against the Colorado Buffaloes and the USC Trojans 70-3 and 41-38, respectively.

1. Miami Hurricanes

The team is considered one of the best in the NFL draft. The Hurricanes allowed only 9.8 points on average per game and defeated their opponents with a combined score of 236-72.

How many players can play basketball?

The sport allows a minimum of four players on the court at a given time, and a minimum of three can finish the match.

What shape is a football?

Basketball and football cards
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney catches the ball with one hand during OTAs on 24 May 2023 at the Chief's training facility in Kansas City, MO. Photo: Scott Winters
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It is a prolate spheroid with a polar axis that is greater than the center diameter, thus making it easy to fly, throw, and catch.

What is the difference between basketball and other team sports?

Compared to other sports, the sport is played on a court with four athletes on each side, aiming to outshine one another.

How many players are in football?

A maximum of 11 players are allowed on each side of the field, and a minimum of seven are needed to start and continue with the match.

How many hours is basketball played?

Professional matches can last up to 2 hours, possibly continuing longer during the finals.

Which sport is harder, basketball or football?

Since a lot of clothing is involved in the NFL, it is considered the hardest compared to its counterpart.

What is the biggest sport in the world?

Best basketball and football colleges
Jimmy Butler (22) of the Miami Heat passes the ball during the game against the Denver Nuggets during Game Three of the 2023 NBA Finals on 7 June 2023 at Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida. Photo: Joe Murphy
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With a fan base of approximately 3.5 billion, football is one of the world's most popular sports and, thus, among the biggest globally.

Basketball and football have played a massive role in society by allowing athletes and fans from different cultures, traditions, countries, and races to interact freely with each other whenever they come to support their respective teams. Over the years, millions of young talents have joined the National Basketball Association and the National Football League with a dream and aim of one day being the best professionals in the world.

READ ALSO: A list of all sports with balls: Find out how many there are

Sports Brief has compiled a list of all sports with balls. Currently, the world has numerous sports that use a ball played by kicking, hitting, or throwing. Some sports like hockey, soccer, and American football have become popular and amassed massive fan bases worldwide.

Since invention, sports have been an essential part of human history and have always played a huge role in society by bringing together people from different races, religions, nationalities, and cultures. Click on the link for more details about sports with balls and how many there are.

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Lenah Ann
Lenah Ann is a Kenyan-based content creator with 2 years of experience. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media and Communication from Dedan Kimathi, Kenya in 2021.