Football Ops

Football Ops

Protecting the integrity of the greatest game.

NFL Ops: Honoring the Game

It's our responsibility to strengthen the sport.

League Governance

Ensuring a consistent and fair game that is decided on the field, by the players.

NFL Rules Enforcement

Ensuring that players conduct themselves in a way that honors the sport and respects the game.

Fines & Appeals

The NFL's schedule of infractions and fines, and a process for appeal.

Economic & Social Impact

Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.

The NFL Ops Team

Meet the people behind NFL Operations.

The Game

The Game

Learn about the people, the jobs and the technology that deliver the best game possible to NFL fans across the U.S. and around the world. 

Gameday: Behind the Scenes

Countdown to kickoff: how NFL games happen.

Technology

In the NFL, balancing technology with tradition.

Impact of Television

How television has changed the game.

History of Instant Replay

Upon further review…

Creating the NFL Schedule

It takes hundreds of computers and four NFL executives to create the NFL's 256-game masterpiece.

The Players

The Players

Learn how NFL players have changed over time, how they’re developed and drafted and how the league works with them after their playing days are over.  

Evolution of the NFL Player

Creating an NFL player: from “everyman” to “superman.”

Development Pipeline

Supporting the next generation of players and fans.

Getting Into the Game

Preparing players of all ages for success at football’s highest level.

The NFL Draft

Introducing the next wave of NFL superstars. 

NFL Player Engagement

A look at the programs the NFL and its partners provide to help every player before, during and after his football career.

NFL Legends Community

Celebrating, educating, embracing and connecting all former NFL players with each other, their former teams and the league.

The Officials

The Officials

Discover the evolution of professional officiating, the weekly evaluation process and how the NFL identifies and develops the next generation of officials.

In Focus: History of the Official

“One thing hasn’t changed: the pressure. It will always be there.”

Inside NFL GameDay Central

The latest information from the NFL's officiating command center.

These Officials Are Really Good

Every week, officials take the field ready to put months of preparation, training and hard work on display, knowing that the whole world — and the Officiating Department — is watching.

Officiating Development

Officiating an NFL game takes years of training and experience. 

The Rules

The Rules

NFL Football Operations protects the integrity of the game by ensuring that the rules and the officiating are consistent and fair to all competitors.

In Focus: Evolution of the NFL Rules

The custodians of football not only have protected its integrity, but have also revised its playing rules to protect the players, and to make the games fairer and more entertaining.

2017 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

2017 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis

NFL Overtime Rules

NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

The NFL's procedures for breaking ties for postseason playoffs.

Signals Intelligence

The NFL's familiar hand signals help fans better understand the game.   

Stats Central

Stats Central

Go inside the game with the NFL's official game stats.  Sort the stats by season or by week.

Chart The Data

Chart and compare the NFL Football Operations stats you're looking for with the NFL's data tool. 

Weekly Dashboard

Get a snapshot of the current NFL game stats, updated weekly during the regular season.

Hugh "Shorty" Ray

Hugh “Shorty” Ray

NFL Supervisor of Officials, 1938–1952

Though he was only 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed just 136 pounds, Hugh “Shorty” Ray had an outsized influence on professional football. The only NFL official to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ray used science and statistics to improve officiating, reform the rules and make the game more exciting for fans.

Getting the league to hire 'Shorty' Ray was my finest contribution to pro football. — George Halas, Hall of Fame coach

Ray, a multisport athlete in high school and at the University of Illinois, told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter in 1946 that he became interested in rules during his playing days in the early 1900s. That’s because his athletic director and baseball coach, George Huff, insisted that all the players be well-versed in them.

(AP Photo/Pro Football Hall of Fame)

(AP Photo/Pro Football Hall of Fame)

After college, Ray taught mechanical drawing in high school in Chicago for more than 30 years. He also coached football and baseball and officiated football, baseball and basketball games for the better part of three decades. That experience fed his desire to take a leading role in improving how officials were trained and how football’s rules were crafted.

The NFL hired Ray in 1938 at the urging of legendary Chicago Bears coach George Halas, who had noticed his work with high school sports associations, including one he had formed in Chicago to oversee and improve officiating. Brought on as a “technical advisor,” Ray quickly set about mastering the way the pro game was played. Often seen with a stopwatch, pencil and slide rule, he made more than 300,000 technical observations, according to the Hall of Fame. Learn how Shorty’s methods changed the game.

“Ray’s scientific approach to the game prevented coaches from obtaining rule changes solely for their own benefit,” Halas said in 1974. “He generally ensured that any rule changes would be solely for the benefit of the entire league and in the interest of the fans.”

Ray knew that an improved rulebook was meaningless if it was poorly or inconsistently enforced, and he demanded officiating excellence to reinforce the integrity of the game.

He required officials to learn the rules forward and backward, and he tested them on their proficiency. He created tools to improve officiating techniques and mechanics, including the first “play situation book,” which prepared officials to make the correct call in most conceivable scenarios. The NFL’s Officiating Department uses a similar book today.

At the time of Ray’s death in 1956 at age 71, few knew of his revolutionizing effect on professional football. That changed a decade later, when he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

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