I must admit I've always admired the taping down of ears.
I played football on the offensive (and some defensive) lines. Nowadays, most lineman are 6' 5" and a bit over 300 lbs. Most on the D-line run a sub 5 second 40. American football, because of it's structured plays also leads to more ferocious impact because of blindside hits (see Eli Manning and Jeff Feagles) that aren't as common in other contact sports.
Doesn't really matter though...football, rugby...all pussies compared to hockey players. I honestly don't see how those guys do it. All of the impact at twice the speed...plus fighting. Hockey is becoming my favorite sport to watch.