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.

2017-18 Important NFL Dates

Here is an overview of important NFL dates for 2017-18 league year. All times are Eastern and all dates are subject to change.

2017
JULY
July 17 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any Club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension.  After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his Prior Club for the 2017 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the Club’s last regular season game.
Mid-July Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for Rookies (defined as a player who has never signed a Player Contract with an NFL Club in a prior League Year) beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for Veteran players. A Club’s preseason training camp will be deemed to have officially opened on the designated reporting date for all Rookies.
Clubs may require First-Year Players (defined as a player who signed a Player Contract with any NFL Club in a prior League Year, but who does not have a pension-credited season) to report on the designated reporting date for all Rookies, or at any time thereafter, including, but not limited to, the designated reporting date for Veteran quarterbacks and injured players, or the designated reporting date for all other Veteran players.
Veteran quarterbacks and “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other Veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all Rookies.
Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or injured players may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.
A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory Veteran reporting date. Players who report to camp, or join the Club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice during the three-day acclimation period are required to complete as much of the acclimation period as remains. Players who report to camp, or join the Club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice after the three-day acclimation period has ended may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
July 24 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, Signing Period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, Prior Club has exclusive negotiating rights.
July 24* At 4:00 p.m., New York time, Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 9 Tender” was made by Prior Club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, Prior Club has exclusive negotiating rights. * or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
AUGUST
Aug. 3 Hall of Fame Game (Arizona vs. Dallas), Canton, Ohio.
Aug. 3-6    Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
Aug. 8 Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency.
If a Drafted Rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2017, and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2018 League Year.
Aug. 9-13 First Preseason Weekend.
Aug. 12-16 Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the club’s intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the club’s second preseason game. Such notice must also be sent to the NFLPA.
Once such notice has been provided, the club must place the player on the Exempt List. While on the Exempt List, the player will not be entitled to compensation for up to three regular-season games, depending upon the date the player reports to the club.
Any such player who fails to report prior to the deadline will be ineligible to play or receive compensation for at least three games (preseason or regular season) from the time that he reports.
Aug. 17-21 Second Preseason Weekend.
Aug. 24-27 Third Preseason Weekend.
Aug. 31 Final Preseason Games.
SEPTEMBER
Sept. 2 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
Sept. 3 Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players (the four designated clubs (NFC South) may sign one player to an International Practice Player Contract.) No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL Player Contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
All tryouts on this date and for the remainder of the season must be reported to the League office.
Sept. 4-9 In accordance with the 2017 Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with the NFL Communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game; and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a Saturday game. 
Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with the NFL Communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Sunday game, Saturday for a Monday game, and Thursday for a Saturday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player's condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed.
Sept. 6 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each Club’s 2017 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.
Sept. 7 At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs.
Sept. 7, 10-11 Regular Season Week 1.
Sept. 8, 11 - 12 Beginning on these dates, any player with at least four previous pension-credited seasons who is released from his Club’s Active List or Inactive List (or from his Club’s Reserve/Injured List if placement occurred after the beginning of the regular season) is entitled to claim Termination Pay, after the end of the regular season, subject to the terms and conditions of CBA Article 30. 
Sept. 14, 17 - 18 Second Week of Regular Season Games.
Sept. 21, 24 - 25 Third Week of Regular Season Games.
Sept. 26 Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.
Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 - 2 Fourth Week of Regular Season Games.
OCTOBER
Oct. 5, 8 - 9 Fifth Week of Regular Season Games.
Oct. 12, 15 - 16 Sixth Week of Regular Season Games.
Mid-Oct. Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness who are for a period not to exceed 21 days.  Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week Six game.
At any time after six weeks have elapsed since a player was placed on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness, each club is permitted to designate two players for return from either list to the Club’s 53-player Active/Inactive List.
A player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction.
A player whom the Club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The Club is required to notify the League office that the player has been “Designated For Return” on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.
Oct. 17 - 18 Fall League Meeting, The Conrad, New York, NY.
Oct. 19, 22 - 23 Seventh Week of Regular Season Games.
Oct. 26, 29-30 Eighth Week of Regular Season Games.
Oct. 31 All trading ends for 2017 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
NOVEMBER
Nov. 1  Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
Nov. 2, 5 - 6 Ninth Week of Regular Season Games.
Nov. 9, 12 - 13 Tenth Week of Regular Season Games.
Nov. 14 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive Offer Sheets.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive Offer Sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2017.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “May 9 Tender” was made.  If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2017.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their Restricted Free Agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2017.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their Drafted Rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2017.
Nov. 16, 19 - 20 Eleventh Week of Regular Season Games.
Nov. 23, 26 - 27 Twelfth Week of Regular Season Games.
Nov. 30 - Dec. 3 - 4 Thirteenth Week of Regular Season Games.
DECEMBER
Dec. 1 Beginning this date through January 31, 2018, NFL clubs are permitted to conduct non-contact tryouts and negotiate with CFL players whose 2017 contracts are due to expire on February 13, 2018. Prior to any tryout or negotiation, NFL clubs must first receive written permission from the player’s CFL club.
Deadline for all Clubs to submit their individual lists of players who received, or filed a grievance for, the Basic or Extended Injury Protection Benefit for the 2017 season.
Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for reinstatement of players in Reserve List categories of Retired, Did Not Report, and Exclusive Rights, and of players who were placed on Reserve/Left Squad in a previous season.
Dec. 2 All salary paid to a Practice Squad player during the postseason will count as Salary if the player’s practice player contract was executed or renegotiated on or after this date for more than the minimum Practice Squad salary.
Dec. 7, 10 - 11 Fourteenth Week of Regular Season Games.
Dec. 12 NFLMC Labor Seminar, Four Seasons-Las Colinas, Irving, Texas.
Dec. 13 Special League Meeting, Four Seasons-Las Colinas, Irving, Texas.
Dec. 14, 16 - 18 Fifteenth Week of Regular Season Games.
Dec. 21, 23 - 25 Sixteenth Week of Regular Season Games.
Dec. 29 Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for waiver requests in 2017, except for "special waiver requests" which have a 10-day claiming period, with termination or assignment delayed until after the Super Bowl.
Dec. 31 Seventeenth Week of Regular Season Games.
2018
JANUARY
Jan. 1 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must provide the Management Council with written notice, signed by the individual club’s owner, indicating the amount, if any, of the club’s 2017 League Year Salary Cap Room to be credited to the club’s 2018 Team Salary.
Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2018 season.
Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the Rookie Contract of a Drafted Rookie who was selected in any round of the 2015 College Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended Player Contract will not be considered a Rookie Contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit Rookie Contracts.
Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2015 College Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after January 1, 2018, but prior to May 3, 2018.
Jan. 6-7 Wild Card Playoff Games.
Jan. 7 Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.
Jan. 8 NCAA National Championship Game, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia. 
Jan. 13-14 Divisional Playoff Games.
Jan. 14 Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.
Jan. 15 Deadline for college players who are underclassmen to apply for Special Eligibility. A list of underclassmen who have been approved for entry into the 2018 College Draft will be sent to clubs on January 19.
Jan. 20 East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, TBD.
Jan. 21 AFC and NFC Championship Games.
Jan. 27 Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
Jan. 28 NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida.
An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.
Jan. 31 Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose 2017 contracts are due to expire at 12:00 noon, New York time, on February 13, 2018.
FEBRUARY
Feb. 2  Deadline for non-playoff Clubs to submit their individual lists of Physician-Certified 2018 Basic Injury Protection Benefit Candidates to the Management Council.
Feb. 4 Super Bowl LII, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Feb. 5 Waiver system begins for 2018.  A 24-hour claiming period will be in effect through the Friday prior to the last regular season game (waivers requests made on Friday and Saturday of each week will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the following Monday.)  Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons whom a club desires to terminate are not subject to the waiver system until after the trading deadline.
Feb. 13 Beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2017 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2018 season or who have an option for the 2018 season are not eligible to be signed.
Feb. 16 Deadline for playoff Clubs to submit their individual lists of Physician-Certified 2018 Basic Injury Protection Benefit Candidates to the Management Council.
Feb. 20 First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
Feb. 27-March 5 Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
MARCH
March 1 Deadline for all clubs to conduct physical examinations pursuant to CBA Article 45, Section 4(a) for players claiming the Extended Injury Protection Benefit for the 2018 season.
March 2 Beginning this date, if a club seeks permission to discuss employment with an assistant coach, who is under contract for the succeeding season or seasons to another club, to offer him a position as its head coach, the employer club is under no obligation to grant the coach the opportunity to discuss the position with the interested club.  At the discretion of the employer club, however, such permission may be voluntarily granted.
Beginning this date through the conclusion of the annual Selection Meeting, if a club seeks permission to discuss employment with an individual, who is under contract for the succeeding season or seasons to another club, to offer him a position as a high-level club employee, the employer club is under no obligation to grant the individual the opportunity to discuss the position with the interested club if his current responsibilities include gathering information on and evaluating draft-eligible players or veteran free agent players.  At the discretion of the employer club, however, such permission may be voluntarily granted.
March 6 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 12-14 During the period beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, on March 12 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective Unrestricted Free Agent and any employee or representative of a club, other than the player’s current club.
March 14 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three Accrued Seasons of free agency credit.
Top 51 Rule is in effect. All clubs must be under the 2018 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The 2018 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2018 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a Personnel Notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.
Commencing at 4:00 p.m., New York time, Clubs may designate up to two Player Contracts that, if terminated on or prior to June 1, 2018 and if not renegotiated after December 31, 2017, shall be treated as if terminated on June 2, subject to the further requirements of CBA Article 13, Section 6(b)(ii)(1).
March 15 Deadline for all Clubs to submit their individual lists of Physician-Certified Candidates for the 2018 Extended Injury Protection Benefit.
March 25-28 Annual League Meeting, Ritz Carlton, Orlando, Florida.
APRIL
April 2 Deadline for Clubs to meet 2018 funding requirements for guaranteed or deferred compensation in NFL Player Contracts and contracts for non-player Club employees.
Clubs that hired a new Head Coach after the end of the 2017 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 16 Clubs with returning Head Coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 18 Deadline to bring draft-eligible players to their facilities for a physical examination.
April 20 Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
April 25 Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
Deadline to time, test, and interview draft-eligible players.
April 26-28 Annual Player Selection Meeting, TBD.
MAY
May 2 Deadline for Clubs to exercise Fifth-Year Option for players selected in the first round of the 2015 Draft.
May 4-7 Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 8 Deadline for Prior Club to send “May 8 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents.  If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his Prior Club.
May 11-14 Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 14 Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
May 17-20 NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited Rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
May 21-23 Spring League Meeting, Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, Georgia.
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