Sport | NFL

American Football hits are harder than Rugby League hits.

According to Lafoga Jordan Mailata who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles on the ‘New Heights Podcast’ where he says their pads don’t protect much.

Lafoga Jordan Mailata is a proud Samoan who's played in one Super Bowl / Credit: Philadelphia Eagles

A Rugby League convert who’s spent the last six years playing American football claims it’s physically a harder game.

Lafoga Jordan Mailata plays for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League (NFL) and recently appeared on the New Heights podcast.

He made a statement saying American Footballer hit harder, an argument both codes have wondered for years.

“If you play O-line (offensive line) or D-line (defensive line) it’s tougher than rugby. Because the pads don’t do s***

The pad that goes on your chest is really thin and you’re coping a helmet to the sternum. That stuff hurts, then in three seconds, you got to do it all again… it’s a mini-car crash every three seconds or 40seconds.”

6' 8" Lafoga Jordan Mailata in action / Credit: Philadelphia Eagles

When the offensive line and the defensive line from both teams form in the middle of the field it can be compared to a scrum in rugby except there is no locking of the arms.

On average men in the NFL are 6 ft 3 and weigh 130 kgs, with Samoan Mailata currently weighing around 160 kgs.

His height, weight, and quick feet got him into the American game but he says their tackling technique is different from rugby league.

“My rookie year I didn’t know how to use my helmet and get into a double team and I got told ‘You got to use your helmet.’ I kept moving to the side because that’s how we get taught to tackle in rugby.”

“Stefen Wisniewski (teammate) hit a double team on me and he headbutted the hell out of me and he said ‘That’s how you hit a double team’, it rang me a little bit but it worked. After that day, that’s all I thought about, just get my head in there.” He says.

Mailata playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs U20s against the Manly Sea Eagles in 2017 / Credit: National Rugby League

Mailata was born in New South Wales Australia and played prop for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs under 18s and then the under 20s for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

In 2017 he was offered $5000 to stay with the Rabbitohs to play for their reserve grade side the North Sydney Bears which he declined after his agency advised him to find a sport that can use his size.

He was then approached by the NFL to try out for their International Player Pathway Program in 2018 which is designed to bridge the gap between other sports and the NFL.

When he agreed to take on this new sport he said it didn’t sit well with his Samoan parents at first.

“My parents raised us to be real hard workers and to follow something through from the start and for me when I said I was going to try something new they thought I was crazy.

But the way I grew up is you had to get permission from your parents, so I asked my parents for permission, got shut down straight away, waited a couple of weeks, asked again, and then I got the blessing.”

Mailata says he almost packed his bags 6months before his NFL debut in September of 2020 but his family (pictured) is what pushed him through / Credit: Twitter

Mailata who could have a career as a singer followed rugby league players such as Jarred Hayne and Valentine Holmes who were unsuccessful in making it in the NFL.

He said that American football athletes have a better chance of making it big in Rugby League compared to the other way around.

The main reason is Rugby League requires endurance and fitness as the NFL requires a lot more knowledge of plays and crashing of the body.

Mailata noted his body feels sore after every American football game at only 26 years old, something he rarely experienced as a Rugby League player.