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.

NFL Way to Play

Knees Bent. Pads Down. Head Up.

The NFL and HBCUs

The NFL is proud of the HBCU professional football legacy.

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 and services NFL Player Engagement provides to assist every player before, during and after his football career.

College All Star Games

Strengthening football and the community.

NFL Legends Community

Strengthening the NFL brotherhood.

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.

NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

2018 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

2018 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.   

Football 101

Football 101

Terms Glossary

Sharpen your NFL football knowledge with this glossary of the game's fundamental terms. 

Formations 101

See where the players line up in pro football's most common offensive and defensive formations.

Quick Guide to NFL TV Graphics

Understand what the graphics on NFL television broadcasts mean and how they can help you get the most out of watching NFL games.

NFL Instant Replay Process

The NFL’s instant replay review process focuses on expediting instant replay reviews and ensuring consistency. Learn how it works.

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.

2018-19 Important NFL Dates

Here is an overview of important NFL dates for 2018-19 league year. All times are Eastern and all dates are subject to change.

2018-19 NFL IMPORTANT DATES
JUNE
Late June  Rookie Experience Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 2018 rookies. 
JULY
July 16  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 2018 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 beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players. Veteran players 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 23  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 23*  Signing period ends for unrestricted free agents to whom a “May 8 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. 2  Hall of Fame Game, Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears, Canton, Ohio. 
Aug. 2-5  Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio. 
Aug. 7  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 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year. 
Aug. 9-13  First Preseason Weekend. 
Aug. 16-20  Second Preseason Weekend. 
Aug. 23-26  Third Preseason Weekend. 
Aug. 30  Final Preseason Games. 
SEPTEMBER
Sept. 1  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. 2  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 (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program may sign one additional international player to a 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. 
Sept. 3-8  In accordance with the 2018 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 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs. 
Sept. 6, 9-10  Regular Season opens. 
Sept. 25  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. 
OCTOBER
Oct. 14  NFL London Series, Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders, New Tottenham Stadium. 
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 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 6 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 passing his preseason physical examination 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. 16-17  Fall League Meeting, New York, New York. 
Oct. 21  NFL London Series, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Wembley Stadium. 
Oct. 28  NFL London Series, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley Stadium. 
Oct. 30  All trading ends for 2018 at 4:00 p.m., New York time. 
Oct. 31  Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason. 
NOVEMBER
Nov. 13  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 the NFL in 2018. 
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unrestricted free agents to whom the “May 8 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2018. 
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 the NFL in 2018. 
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 the NFL in 2018. 
Nov. 19  NFL Mexico Series, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams, Estadio Azteca. 
DECEMBER
Dec. 12  League Meeting, Irving, Texas. 
Dec. 30  Week 17. 
Dec. 31  Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2016 NFL 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 2016 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after Dec. 31, 2018, but prior to May 3, 2019. 
2019 
JANUARY
Jan. 5-6  Wild Card Playoffs. 
Jan. 6  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. 12-13  Divisional Playoffs. 
Jan. 13  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. 14  Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on Jan. 18. 
Jan. 19  East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida. 
Jan. 20  AFC and NFC Championship Games. 
Jan. 26  Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama. 
Jan. 27  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. 
FEBRUARY
Feb. 3  Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia. 
Feb. 19  First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players. 
Feb. 26-March 4  Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana. 
MARCH
March 5  Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players. 
March 11-13  During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 11th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13th, 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 2018 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 13. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 13. 
During the above two-day negotiating period, a prospective unrestricted free agents who is not represented by an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the head coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations. 
March 13  The 2019 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time. 
The first day of the 2019 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13. 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 13. 
Trading period for 2019 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2018 contracts. 
March 24-27  Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona. 
APRIL
April 1  Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. 
April 15  Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs. 
April 19  Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets. 
April 24  Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents. 
April 25-27  NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee. 
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