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 136 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.

Life After the Game

Creating the game plan for life after football.

The NFL Draft

Introducing the next wave of NFL superstars. 

The Officials

The Officials

Discover the evolution of professional officiating, the weekly evaluation process, and how the 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. 

Behind the Stripes: Timeline

Starting the next week’s work when this week’s final whistle blows.

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.

Signals Intelligence

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

2016 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

NFL Video Rulebook

NFL SVP of Officiating Dean Blandino explains NFL rules with video examples.

Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis for 2016

NFL Overtime Rules

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.

Officiating Development

Officiating an NFL game takes years of training and experience. 

Every NFL game has a third team on the field: the officiating crew. For every snap, this seven-person unit makes calls with precision and split-second decisions without hesitation.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Without the benefit of multiple camera angles on high-definition TV, this crew rules on about 160 plays each and every game. Correctly officiating an NFL game takes years of experience, training and development. 

NFL officials are the best of the best — only 124 officials currently have the privilege of calling football games at the highest level. No one officiates forever, so the NFL’s Officiating Department continuously strives to develop a robust talent pool to ensure that the next generation of officials is ready to step up when needed.

“If you were going to write a 10-chapter book about what it’s like to be an official in the NFL, the first nine chapters would deal with preparation. The last chapter would deal with the game.”

 JERRY SEEMAN, NFL SENIOR DIRECTOR OF OFFICIATING, 1991–2001

The Officiating Department works closely with local, state and collegiate officiating associations to develop this pipeline of high school and college football officials across the country. The league also hosts grass-roots clinics and programs designed to introduce young men and women to football officiating.

FINDING THE BEST

The NFL has developed a regional network of more than 65 officiating scouts to canvass the country in search of officials with the potential to advance to higher levels of football.

Dean Blandino and Al Riveron discuss what goes into building the NFL's "third team."

All of these candidates will learn important personal and professional skills that will help them on and off the field. A select few will demonstrate the skills, athleticism and strength of character necessary to officiate in the NFL. 

The efforts of the scouts and NFL Officiating Department have led to a pool of about 4,000 officials at all levels that have been observed and evaluated. Once in the officiating database, scouts track their progress, and those who stand out can earn opportunities to move up to officiate in higher levels of football.

Officiating Development Programs

Programs for Advanced Officials

High-performing prospects may earn their way into one of these programs, which develop officiating talent to work at the highest levels:

  • NFL Officiating Development Program (ODP): Select college officials that have shown the potential ability to officiate at the highest level — typically officials for major college conferences — get a chance to be evaluated and mentored by the NFL’s Officiating Department to help prepare them for possibly making the jump to the NFL.

BROADENING THE POOL

These grass-roots initiatives are designed to expand the public’s interest and skills in officiating at every level: