Get Ready For The Biggest American Football Grand Slam!

American Football is the United States’ most popular sport, but it has changed a lot over the years.

Alongside the increase in money, another of the most striking changes has been the size and strength of American Footballers. This infographic looks at just how much bigger the Defensive Tackle position is today than it was in 1960. You definitely wouldn’t want to be tackled by one of these athletes!


 American Football Players And How They Have Grown

There has been a number of changes for the modern day footballers. Today’s football players are paid huge salaries and have their health and fitness constantly monitored by the clubs they play for. They are professionals in every aspect of their life and have to be to compete at the highest level. Even when the season ends players have to make sure they follow an intense training plan and strict nutrition to start the new season in the best shape possible.


In the 1950s there was nowhere near the same amount of money in the game as today, meaning players often worked in the gap between the end of one season and the start of another to provide for themselves and their family. The fact they had to work another job made it difficult for them to prioritise fitness.


This started to change when football became the country’s most popular sport. It overtook baseball in the 1970s and has not looked back since then. TV contracts and full stadiums followed, which brought money to the game.


The popularity continued to grow in the 80s and 90s and this meant players could begin to negotiate wages and could turn pro.


The American Footballers of today don’t spend the off-season working a job but work on their fitness and strength, whilst following a strict diet.

What Has Changed?

One of the most striking differences in American Footballers today is how they’ve increase in size and height. We’re constantly talking about how rugby players have increased in weight over time, and American Footballers are no different.


Size and strength have become extremely important characteristics in the game and the Defensive Tackle especially needs to be built like a brick house. The role of the Defensive Tackle is to stop the opposition’s running game.


The Defensive Tackles of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s would be considered ‘small’ by today’s standards. The average 1960s Defensive Tackle weighs a whole 64 lbs (29 kg) less than the Defensive Tackle of today.

american football

How Much Does The Average American Male Weigh?

It seems that Americans in general, are considered ‘big’. We’re constantly seeing something on the news about American obesity. So let’s see how much the average American Male has increased in weight in comparison to the Defensive Tackle.

Back in the 1960s, the Average American Male weighed just 165 lbs (75 kg), a whole 86 lbs (39 kg) less than the Defensive Tackle.

In 2017, the Average American Male weighs 195 lbs (88 kg). The average man in England weights around 83 kg, so are American friends are definitely ‘bigger’.

American Males have increased in weight by 30 lbs (13 kg), an increase of 17.6%. In comparison, the Defensive Tackle has increased by 64 lbs (29 kg) over the same time, an increase of 25%.

The Defensive Tackle in 2017 weighs a huge 120 lbs (54 kg) more than the average American male.

Both have increased in weight then, but the Defensive Tackle is certainly a long way ahead of the average American Male when it comes to weight!

Take Home Message


The Defensive Tackle is the equivalent of the Second Row in rugby, a physically imposing, tall, heavy and strong athlete that you definitely wouldn’t want to be tackled by. Luckily you don’t have to face them! You can just watch them in action this weekend. Phew.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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