Joe’s Journey

Hugh Dexter sits down to talk gridiron with Joseph Rose

Joseph Rose is a cornerback for the UEL Phoenix American Football team. The cornerback is part of the defensive backfield; their job is to stop wide receivers either by intercepting the pass or making tackles.

Injury

Joseph explained how he decided to start playing American Football after previously playing rugby before suffering from an ankle injury, “I started watching American Football before I started university, it interested me because I used to play rugby and I wanted to get back into physical sports.”

American football has often been compared to rugby in London and at times criticised as being just rugby with extra padding. However, Joseph explained how they contrst: “It’s two different sports to be honest, we throw backwards and forwards and sideways whereas rugby throw backwards.”

Pace

Joseph also explained how the pace of both games are also different saying, “We are more of a stop-start kind of game and rugby is more of a continuous rolling game.” This is true as once a player is tackled in American football the play is dead and a new play must be set up, there are also timeouts given to teams and breaks in between scores and changes in possession. Rugby on the other hand does not stop after a tackle is made and the game continues until a penalty is called or a try is scored.

American Football is known for its high intensity and power tackles, when asked about this Joseph explained why American football can have such hard hitting full contact: “When it comes to going against the offence more of us tackle into one person, whoever has the ball.”

It is not uncommon for defensive players to double up on one player, this is used when facing an elite level wide receiver. This tactic is used to try and detour the quarterback from throwing to that player or to slow the player down to stop them from gaining momentum and yardage. The Phoenix cornerback gave an insight into how the defenders operate against such receivers: “If they catch the ball everyone turns to that person, if one defender slows them down the others come in for the tackle even harder.”

Popularity

The physicality and flamboyant presentation of American Football is one of the reasons it has become so popular in the UK again after seeing a boom back in the 70s, so much so that the success of recent London games has sparked serious rumours about there being a permanent league franchise in London.

Joseph gave his opinion on whether or not we are likely to see a franchise within the next couple of years: “If there was [a] possibly in the years to come, but at the moment, I don’t know about that.” There has been obvious concerns about the travel and time zone issues with this idea, however it is not one that has been fully dismissed and will continue to gain the interest of the league as fans and players such as UEL Phoenix’s Joseph Rose continue to rise in London.