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.

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.

2016 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.

NFL Officiating Development Program

Training and mentoring non-NFL officials to officiate football at the highest level.

The NFL Officiating Development Program (ODP) provides an opportunity for college-level officials not yet working in the NFL to be exposed to some of the same experiences as NFL officials. Drawn from the nearly 4,000 people in the league’s scouting database, these officials are evaluated by the league to answer one question: Do they have the potential to succeed in the NFL?

Before joining the program, officials must receive medical clearance, pass a background check, take a psychological assessment and complete an in-person interview with a panel of NFL Officiating Department staff.

Once accepted into the program, they study position-specific film with veteran NFL officials and current officiating supervisors, as well as, review NFL mechanics and analyze the differences in rules between NFL and NCAA. ODP officials gain NFL experiences by:

  • Attending the NFL’s annual preseason officiating clinic to begin learning the differences between college and professional officiating.
  • Participating in NFL mini-camps and training camps.
  • Officiating in an NFL preseason game.
  • Working an NCAA post-season all-star game (Reese’s Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game or NFLPA Game)

At the end of the season, the officials in the ODP will be assessed as follows:

  • Ready for the highest level: This official will be moving up to an NFL officiating crew when an opening exists.
  • Great work, but room to improve: The league likes what it sees in the official, but determines that he or she is not ready for the NFL just yet, but will remain in the program.
  • Not the right fit: The league does not see this official working in the NFL, and he or she continues his or her collegiate career.

2016 ODP Participants

  • Brian Bolinger, B1G
  • Mike Carr, B1G
  • Maia Chaka, C-USA
  • Land Clark, PAC-12
  • Ryan Dickson, PAC-12
  • Matt Edwards, B1G
  • Marlow Fitzgerald, MWC
  • Quentin Givens, Big XII
  • Michael Griffith, AAC
  • Nate Jones, C-USA
  • Tony Josselyn, SEC
  • Jacob Kemp, MAC
  • Terry Killens, AAC
  • Justin Larrew, C-USA
  • Kevin Mar, MWC
  • Mike Morton, ACC
  • LaShell Nelson, C-USA
  • Justin Nelson, PAC-12
  • Lyndon Nixon, Big XII
  • David Oliver, SEC
  • Nicole Randolph, MVC
  • Mearl Robinson, PAC-12
  • Danny Short, ACC
  • Tab Slaughter, Big XII
  • Reggie Smith, Big XII
  • Larry Smith, MAC
  • Frank Steratore, B1G
  • Mark Stewart, Big XII
  • Don Willard, B1G
  • Steve Woods, B1G

Some ODP officials have several successful years of experience as college referees (crew chiefs). In most cases, when these officials enter the league, they will work at a position other than referee to gain experience.

The 2016 season will be the first year of an NFL and CFL officiating exchange program. CFL officials will be given a chance to gain NFL experience though select preseason opportunities that will give them a different perspective to help their continued development. In 2016, the NFL will welcome three CFL officials into the ODP:

  • Dave Foxcroft, Referee
  • Justin McInnes, Line of scrimmage
  • Dave Hawkshaw, Downfield
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