We all know what American football is, as well as basic soccer (Sydney has a team called the Socceroo's). And Rugby League, Rugby Union and Gaelic football are about all the same. And so is watching them on TV - all like watching paint dry. Talk about "3-yards and a cloud of dust". These games are just a series of guys running three yards (undefended with no blockers, straight into a wall of 10 opponents) and getting slammed to the ground. This happen about 20 times in a row, then inevitably, the ball squirts out on ground contact, the other team recovers and starts the process all over again now going the other way...zzzzz.
Australian Rules Football, in contrast, is more like watching a bucket of paint fall off a ladder and 12 guys trying to catch it! It is high energy and super fun to watch (which I can remember first doing 25-years ago when the fledgling ESPN would air it late at night.)
Check this out for a quick and cheeky explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqymJpIhpPY.
And Down Under it is called AFL or Footy for short. There is even a 24/7 Fox sports channel call Fox Footy.
The pacing, momentum and possession-changes are fast like hockey, and it reminds me of the 2-3 timer per NFL game when a loose fumble is bouncing around and everyone is scrambling for it - and the viewers all jump up and yell at the TV with excitement.
And like Rugby and Soccer, no padding or protection is worn (or sleeves for that matter) as it is strictly for the manly men.
One of my favorite things is how they "pass" the ball with either volleyball serve-like punches, or amazingly accurate "pass kicks" to each other. They score by kicking the ball through a set of goal posts, either on the fly or bounced.
Australian Rules (or League) Football - just another thing to love about this country. It's just dinkum!
P.S. It looks like we have a few amateur AFL leagues in the U.S., mostly in the West Coast.