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, fair and safe 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.”

High School Player Development

Developing leadership, character and skill for success on the field and in life.

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.”

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 make games fairer, safer and more entertaining.

Signals Intelligence

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

2014 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

HSPD Programs

Developing better citizens through football.

HSPD Camps

The core elements of the High School Player Development program are the free multiday camps that take place at high schools across the country from May through August every year. 

Since 2004, more than 175,000 high school football players have attended HSPD camps, receiving world-class football instruction from NFL site managers and learning what it takes to make it to the next level of play and how they can set themselves up for success after high school — whether they continue with football or follow a different path. 

“They didn’t necessarily develop me for the NFL, they developed me for college. And coming into college, I had a bit of a head start.”

Leon Williams, HSPD alum, University of Miami graduate  and NFL free agent

The instruction and resources shared in HSPD camps benefit more than just the players. To date, nearly 21,000 high school coaches have participated in HSPD camps and are applying what they learned in their own football programs. In 2014, HSPD camps hosted about 30,000 players and 3,000 coaches at sites in 45 states.

Camps:

  • Are free to participants
  • Take place over five consecutive days and are scheduled from May through August
  • Include a character development session that covers using social media responsibly, managing relationships, and navigating NCAA guidelines and requirements to remain eligible while attending college
  • Include four football fundamentals sessions in which each player participates at one defensive and one offensive position
  • Supply coaches with an instructional HSPD DVD and Practice Plan
  • Provide players with an HSPD jersey and coaches with HSPD apparel

7-on-7 Tournament

In 2007, the NFL High School Player Development program created the National 7-on-7 Tournament to give outstanding players who had completed an HSPD camp a chance to compete in noncontact 7-on-7 play against other top players from around the country.

HSPD alum and current Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin participating in a 7-on-7 Tournament.

HSPD alum and current Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin participating in a 7-on-7 Tournament.

The tournament also gives college coaches an opportunity to see some of the nation’s up-and-coming talent — including many who wouldn’t normally get a chance to play in front of college recruiters. 

Character development sessions reinforce traits and qualities that help players succeed after high school, including time management, commitment to academics and personal discipline. All expenses are paid for players to attend the tournament, which typically runs from Thursday to Sunday during one week in July.

The first 7-on-7 Tournament was held in 2004 with four participating teams. The next year eight teams, each representing an NFL franchise, were involved. Today the participants in the National 7-on-7 Tournament — all of whom are the winners of regional tournaments — represent all 32 NFL teams.

Tournament teams, consisting of 12 players and two coaches, with seven players on the field at one time, compete in a round-robin format prior to being seeded to play in an elimination tournament. The action takes place on a 40-yard field with a 10-yard end zone, with two 20-minute halves and a three-minute halftime.

Learn more about the National 7-on-7 Tournament:

  • Read more about the rules of the 7-on-7 Tournament.
  • Find an HSPD camp near you.
  • Contact HSPD to learn more about the 7-on-7 Tournament.

Lineman Challenge 

The Lineman Challenge brings together outstanding high school linemen who have completed an HSPD camp to compete in noncontact activities in front of college recruiters.

Participants in the HSPD Lineman Challenge compete in the Tug-o'-War event.

Participants in the HSPD Lineman Challenge compete in the Tug-o'-War event.

During its inaugural season in 2013, 36 players representing six NFL teams competed. Just one year later, the number of players grew to 60, representing 10 NFL teams — each chosen through a regional tournament.

Participants compete in a variety of events, including Medicine Ball Throw, Shuttle Races, Broad Jump, Sand Bag Carry, a timed obstacle course and Tug-o’-War. After competition, players take part in a character development session and a community service opportunity.

As they are for the 7-on-7 Tournament, all expenses are paid for participants in the Lineman Challenge. The event takes place in coordination with the National 7-on-7 Tournament.

Learn more about the Lineman Challenge:

  • Find an HSPD camp near you.
  • Contact HSPD to learn more about the Lineman Challenge.

Leadership

Character: It’s what makes a leader, on and off the field. And it’s something that the NFL Leadership Program aims to develop in high school football players across the country.  

This program began in 2012 at three sites with 105 participants; two years later, it had expanded to reach nearly 1,000 players. These one-day events focus on developing four core values — character development, academic excellence, competition and community service — through watching presentations by guest speakers and by participating in community service activities such as cleaning parks, volunteering at food banks and working with people with special needs. 

“With that positive reinforcement instilled in our heads, we believe that we are better people than where we live at, and can do much bigger things in life.” 

 ADAM GADDIE, HSPD ALUM, BUFFALO STATE UNIVERSITY GRADUATE

Rochester players listen to head coach Derek Leonard after beating Alleman 43-18 in the IHSA Class 4A high school championship football game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

Rochester players listen to head coach Derek Leonard after beating Alleman 43-18 in the IHSA Class 4A high school championship football game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

Players who demonstrate excellence in the community, in the classroom and on the playing field can be referred to the NFL Leadership Program by their coaches, athletic directors or teachers.  

Participants in the Leadership Program must:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 grade point average
  • Have completed their sophomore year of high school
  • Have at least 80 percent attendance in school
  • Play on their school’s football team
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities such as teamwork, integrity, dedication and commitment
  • Be able to attend all events on the day of the program