Your sports don't test all that much. Nobody ever looks absolutely exhausted. It's should be real torture.
Baseball, it is true, is not a test of endurance, nor is it meant to be. Basketball, which you are loath to consider and I am sure have never had enough exposure to to gain a true appreciation -- it is the closest "American" sport to football in terms of its demands on endurance, intellect, teamwork, and athleticism -- which may account for its exploding popularity worldwide, Great Britain excluded -- lends itself to heroism in the face of injury and exhaustion. And it never ends in a shootout.
Our football players, in spite of their armor, battle through injury to such an extent that their lives, relative to the average American, are shortened by over a decade. True, they are a testament to technology and pharmacology as well as to brute force of will, but that too is a reflection (for better and for worse) of American notions of masculinity.
For my part, what I know about cricket could fit in a matchbox with all the matches left in, so I'll bow to your experience in saying that it is in fact a grueling test of character. I'm supposing it just might be, given the way you Brits are continually dominated by various of your former colonies. Still and all, it looks to me like some sort of group men's cotillion...