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.

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.

Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations

Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations

The end result of rule changes are highly visible and often debated when the season begins, but many are not aware of the nuts and bolts process that goes into developing rules and making any change to the game. There are several steps to vetting rule changes and the discussions are often tedious and, at times, vigorous.

Before the 2015 National Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, I was involved in meetings with the members of the NFL Competition Committee and various league experts, to discuss possible rules changes and ways of protecting players from unnecessary risks.

We combed through injury reports and statistical trends to identify ways to make our game better. We gathered input from coaches and general managers and have started to discuss rule changes based on observations and experiences from the past season. We met with our colleagues from the NCAA to discuss lessons learned and how we can work together moving forward. We talked about protecting players and concussion protocols, the use of new technology, and improvements in how our game is administered through our officials.

This week in Naples, Fla., we will reconvene to take an even closer look at the proposals that came out of the Indianapolis meeting, along with ways we can improve upon our processes and standards for the upcoming season. This year we’ve had nearly a dozen rule change suggestions and we’ll want to make sure we address all of the concerns of our key stakeholders, so we’ll comb through video of hundreds of plays, analyzing and vetting these possible changes with coaches and GMs and with the Coaches Subcommittee.

Some of the changes we’re considering:

  • Modifying what is reviewable under instant replay
  • Exploring processes and procedures of how a medical timeout would work
  • Discussing banning the chop block
  • Ensuring that the review process covers what was called on the field and does not create new fouls
  • Refining the definition of a hit on a defenseless player
  • Adding an eighth official
  • Making the extra point more challenging
  • Using tablets on the sideline and for video replay and moving closer to our “sideline of the future” by adopting new technology
  • Continuing to enhance our concussion protocol
  • Increasing our standards for equipment that may make our game progressively better

We have two main objectives when considering changes to the rules: protecting our players from unnecessary risk and providing clarity and consistency in the way we administer the game.

Accordingly, there are two areas that are of particular interest to me as we explore the next steps in the evolution of protecting players—the concept of a medical time out and removing the chop block from the game. A medical timeout could be called when a spotter or an independent person unaffiliated with either team on the sideline believes a player is in need of medical attention, but he remains in the game. What is the practical application of such a time out? What are the processes and procedures that would be in place to ensure both competitive balance and the health of the player?—these are questions that should be considered.

The chop block has been banned from both the high school and college game. We have a generation of players coming to the NFL who never used the chop block, yet they may be expected to initiate this technique that could result in a career-ending injury. We strongly need to consider removing this technique from the game.

When looking at potential rules changes, we must consider how they will affect the overall game, how they will be taught to players, and how they will be officiated in real time. Officials and players are moving at game speed, and those of us who are making decisions on rules have the luxury of slow-motion video. Sometimes game speed and rule changes aren't always compatible.

We’re constantly looking at ways to improve the game and protect our players from unnecessary risk. Follow me @TroyVincent23 and NFL Football Operations @NFLFootballOps on Twitter for updates next week and beyond.

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