Prince Harry Jokes Americans ‘Stole Rugby from Us’

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Feb 18, 2024

Rugby is idolized by the British nations and their former overseas territories. From Scotland to South Africa and as far away as New Zealand, the game is adored by fans around the world.

During a recent appearance at the NFL Honors event in Las Vegas, Prince Harry joked the U.S. stole rugby from the Brits and that American football is nothing more than an altered version of British sport.

Prince Harry Makes NFL Joke

Super Bowl LVIII went down Feb. 11, with the Kansas City Chiefs earning another historic victory over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. 

An American football player is pictured as he stands in the center of the field

Source: Freepik

A few days before the event, the Duke of Sussex appeared at NFL Honors to issue an award. While on stage, Prince Harry couldn’t help but make a few jokes at the expense of the game so many Americans love.

The Duke of Sussex Presents NFL Award

Prince Harry joined the event to present Steelers defensive Cameron Heyward with the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

Prince Harry is pictured alongside Cameron Heyward on stage at NFL Honors

Source: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Before giving out the award, Prince Harry made several jokes about the similarities between American football and rugby. 

Is American Football Rugby in Disguise?

As the prince began to speak to those at the event, he joked about the origins of American football. 

Rugby players pictured during a game on a clear day in England

Source: Freepik

“Good evening, NFL. It’s an honor to be with you all tonight. I really love how you stole rugby from us, and you made it your own,” Harry said, according to People

Prince Harry Pokes Fun at Football Rules

The prince continued by poking fun at several rules which were adopted for the American sport. 

An American footballer is pictured in a white jersey as he carries the ball forward

Source: Freepik

“Instead of passing it backwards, just pass it forwards. Why not wear pads and a helmet? Of course, have an offense and defense, that makes sense,” said Harry.

Endless Breaks in NFL Games

British fans of the sport have a hard time following the NFL due to the extensive breaks between each play, a facet typically not seen in soccer or rugby. 

A photograph of several San Francisco 49ers players during a break

Source: Rick Doyle/Getty Images

Harry played on this by adding, “And why not take a breather every 15 seconds? And you know what, instead of a 10-month season, let’s just make it 18 weeks. Genius.”


The Prince Gives Respect to Players

After a few moments of fun, Harry decided to give praise to all of the stars who performed in the NFL. 

Prince Harry photographed during a portion of his speech at NFL Honors

Source: Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

Just before handing the award to Heyward, the Duke of Sussex said, “All you guys do on and off the field is truly remarkable.”


Role Models for Millions of Young Americans

Harry continued by expressing how many of the NFL players are great role models for the up-and-coming generations across the States.

A young American football player is pictured on the field as he catches a pass

Source: Freepik

“You are role models for millions in the way you carry yourselves and the way you give back. This final award, the highest honor, is all about serving your community,” said the prince.


Harry Issues the Award to Heyward

Finally, Harry issued the award to Heyward, who had an outstanding season on and off the pitch for the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, presents the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to Cameron Heyward

Source: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

“There’s one special man we’d like to pay tribute to now. A player who goes above and beyond and whose extraordinary commitment to helping others is a reflection of his own story,” he said.


Prince Harry Flies Home in a Rush

Harry’s appearance at the event came just days after rushing home to see his father, King Charles, in the wake of his cancer diagnosis.

A large passenger jet is photographed mid-flight

Source: Freepik

According to reports, Harry spoke with his father in London on Tuesday for around 30 minutes.


Buckingham Palace Releases Statement

Representatives from Buckingham Palace released a statement confirming the king’s diagnosis. 

A female reporter dressed in a white coat takes notes during a press release

Source: Freepik

“During the king’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” they wrote (via The Royal Household).


Royal Beef Continues

Many thought the prince and his brother, Prince William, might catch up and ease the tension between them during the visit.

Prince Harry pictured alongside his brother, Prince William, during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Source: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

However, after spending 25 hours back in his home nation, Harry left without visiting his brother, leaving many to assume the relationship between them is nonexistent at the moment.