The NFL Ops Team
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
Protecting the integrity of the greatest game.
It's our responsibility to strengthen the sport.
Ensuring a consistent and fair game that is decided on the field, by the players.
Ensuring that players conduct themselves in a way that honors the sport and respects the game.
Knees Bent. Pads Down. Head Up.
The NFL is proud of the HBCU professional football legacy.
Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
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.
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Upon further review…
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Creating an NFL player: from “everyman” to “superman.”
Supporting the next generation of players and fans.
Preparing players of all ages for success at football’s highest level.
Introducing the next wave of NFL superstars.
A look at the programs and services NFL Player Engagement provides to assist every player before, during and after his football career.
Celebrating, educating, embracing and connecting all former NFL players with each other, their former teams and the league.
Strengthening football and the community.
Discover the evolution of professional officiating, the weekly evaluation process and how the NFL identifies and develops the next generation of officials.
“One thing hasn’t changed: the pressure. It will always be there.”
The latest information from the NFL's officiating command center.
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 an NFL game takes years of training and experience.
NFL Football Operations protects the integrity of the game by ensuring that the rules and the officiating are consistent and fair to all competitors.
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.
The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.
Explore the official rules of the game.
The NFL's procedures for breaking ties for postseason playoffs.
The NFL's familiar hand signals help fans better understand the game.
Sharpen your NFL football knowledge with this glossary of the game's fundamental terms.
See where the players line up in pro football's most common offensive and defensive formations.
Understand what the graphics on NFL television broadcasts mean and how they can help you get the most out of watching NFL games.
The NFL’s instant replay review process focuses on expediting instant replay reviews and ensuring consistency. Learn how it works.
Go inside the game with the NFL's official game stats. Sort the stats by season or by week.
Chart and compare the NFL Football Operations stats you're looking for with the NFL's data tool.
Get a snapshot of the current NFL game stats, updated weekly during the regular season.
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations
Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations, informs the business of the NFL through the unique lens of his previous roles as a player, a player’s union president, and the Senior Vice President of Player Engagement. He employs the highest standards to enhance and preserve football and its value to society.
His transformational leadership approach promotes professional development of staff, players, coaches and officials by applying a vision of clarity, consistency and credibility to all aspects of football operations. Vincent holds a broad range of responsibilities for the business of football, including game analytics, accountability, integrity of the game, development and growth, and policies and procedures relating to NFL games, including protecting players from unnecessary risk.
“It’s a great blessing to have moved from serving our fans as a player to now serving them through the operations of the game. Football transcends race, age, gender and other elements of society and creates community by bringing people together across our great nation,” says Vincent. “The future of football is bright because the integration of technology, technique, and rule adjustments are making our game progressively better.”
Vincent long has been a promoter of the character and leadership values that football contributes to society. He is the only player in history to have received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, NFL Players Association Byron Whizzer White Award, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award. Vincent is considered a national leader as an advocate against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Chief Football Administrative Officer
Dawn Aponte, Chief Football Administrative Officer, brings a wealth of football experience at the team and league level to the NFL. Aponte is responsible for driving Football Operations initiatives, facilitating communication and management of the day-to-day operations, and assisting in building relationships with club owners, presidents and executives.
Aponte was most recently an executive with RSE Ventures, an international sports, entertainment and tech firm co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and club vice-chairman Matt Higgins.
Prior to RSE, she spent seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins, last serving as executive vice president of football administration. Aponte joined the Dolphins after one year as vice president of football administration with the Cleveland Browns. Before that, she spent three years as the vice president of labor finance with the NFL Management Council. Aponte started her career in football with the New York Jets, where she spent more than 15 years in various capacities, most recently as the club’s senior director of football administration.
Throughout her 25 years in football, Aponte has developed expertise in matters relating to contract negotiations, salary cap management, labor and CBA issues, and day-to-day management of the football business and administration operations.
Aponte serves on USA Football’s Board of Directors where she helps guide the sport’s national governing body in leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players.
Aponte earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware and passed the C.P.A. exam shortly thereafter. She went on to receive a master’s degree in Finance and Management from Wagner College, then continued on to earn a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. Aponte is a member of the New York State Bar.
NFL Senior Vice President of Football Operations
As Senior Vice President of Football Operations Policy and Compliance, Dave Gardi employs a unique combination of legal background and a lifetime of football knowledge to ensure that all football operations are in compliance with policy, process and rules.
Gardi is the gatekeeper of policies and procedures that control competitive balance, where he utilizes a Juris Doctorate in Law from Hofstra as the watchdog over integrity of the game policies, and rules administration on game day. As a former quarterback for Brown University, Gardi is also a driving force in communicating the department’s accountability initiatives to clubs, coaches and players.
“It is of utmost importance to every club, its owners, coaches, players and our fans that the rules of football and the policies impacting the game be communicated with clarity, consistency, and credibility,” says Gardi. “Moreover, there must be a fair and level playing field to ensure competitive balance, resulting in a world-class contest with every game.”
A devoted husband and father of two, Gardi began his journey with the NFL in 2003. Prior to joining Football Operations, he served as Vice President of Labor Relations and Football Administration where he advised clubs on matters related to the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, including player contracts, salary cap, club discipline, League policies, and workers compensation.
“Dave has parlayed a strong family football pedigree with playing experience and a law degree to provide our department with not only a deep understanding of the game, but also what it takes to keep it fair, balanced and competitive,” said Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “Dave knows the business of football, knows football, and knows how to administer the game, and that’s a powerful combination.”
Senior Vice President of Football Administration and Club Services
Rod Graves, Senior Vice President Football Administration and Club Services, has contributed to the business of professional football as a scout, as a director of player personnel, as a vice president of football operations, and as a general manager. This informs his ability to develop the game at all levels and to provide world-class service to our NFL teams.
Graves applies his insight and deep understanding of football operations to oversee all club and game-related initiatives related to the NFL competition committee, general managers and head coaches. Graves is responsible for the strategic development of coaching, scouting, officiating, and front office personnel, international players and coaches, the combine series, college relations and the player pipeline.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our game in so many different ways,” said Graves. “The sustainability of our game depends on developing our personnel toward a standard of excellence both on and off the field.
Graves came to NFL Football Operations from the New York Jets, where he was Senior Director of Football Operations. Prior to that, he worked as a scout for the Chicago Bears, and as general manager for the Arizona Cardinals.
“Rod brings a depth of club and football knowledge to our department,” says Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of NFL Football Operations. “Rod is a man of high integrity and his experience over the past 30 years is informed by multiple aspects of the business of football from scouting to player personnel to general manager. His insight is invaluable as he contributes to developing our great game.”
Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development
Damani Leech, Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development, began working at the league office in 2015. He is responsible for developing strategic plans that position football for long-term growth in the U.S. and abroad.
Leech serves as a liaison for Football Operations to other league business units. His work helps to integrate Football Operations’ efforts into league-wide strategic planning and partnerships.
Prior to the NFL, Leech worked at the NCAA national office for more than 17 years, leaving as the Managing Director for Championships and Alliances. While at the NCAA, he oversaw strategy and direction for multiple NCAA championships — including Division I football, women’s volleyball, and men’s ice hockey and baseball. He also managed the NCAA’s playing rules and officiating department.
Leech received his bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and International Affairs from Princeton University in 1998, where he was also a football student-athlete, earning Third-team All-America and First-team All-Ivy League honors as a defensive back. He earned a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University in 2004.
Senior Vice President of Player Engagement
Arthur McAfee, Senior Vice President of Player Engagement, brings years of experience as a professional and college sports attorney to NFL Football Operations. McAfee oversees NFL Player Engagement, which assists players reach their potential on and off the field by providing guidance, support and resources before, during and after their NFL careers.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to maximize the resources and network of the NFL to improve the NFL experience for the entire player community,” McAfee said.
McAfee is a founding partner of The McAfee Group, a consulting firm that advises sports leagues and organizations, agents, athletes and others on sports-related business and legal affairs. Prior to that, McAfee was a staff counsel for the NFL Players Association and an enforcement representative for the NCAA.
“Arthur brings a distinguished body of work in player advocacy to our team,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. “His vast experience will further assist our department in advancing the game by serving all players — past, present and future.”
Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing
Tracy Perlman, Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing, began her career with the NFL the day after she graduated from Hofstra University in 1992.
Perlman leads the marketing and communications of all programs, benefits and resources available across the football community. These efforts positively impact relationships and enhance goodwill for the NFL and its 32 member clubs with coaches, prospects, current players and Legends.
Perlman builds relationships with, and establishes connections between, current players and NFL Legends. She works with players to enhances their images and drive their initiatives by sharing their off-the-field stories. Her team develops partnerships with incoming NFL Rookies to welcome them to the NFL family.
Her team created NFL5Q, an unscripted podcast where players and Legends have honest, candid conversations about the challenges and benefits of life off-the-field and after their football career.
Perlman serves as the contact for players on league-wide initiatives, including “My Cause, My Cleats,” and she has developed events for players at NFL events and assists players and Legends in building their own brands.
In 2013, in partnership with Player Engagement and the Commissioner’s office, she created the NFL Legends Community. The Legends Community celebrates, embraces and connects all former players with each other, their former teams and the NFL. The NFL Legends Community, the league’s central resource for former players, provides opportunities for Legends to engage with each other year-round — in person and through social media — through team events, educational programs and professional development, total wellness and networking opportunities. Perlman oversees the 22 Legends Directors and Coordinators who work as peer-to-peer advisors for the more than 7,000 former players who have registered with the NFL Legends Community.
Before joining Football Operations, Perlman was NFL Vice President of Entertainment and Marketing. In that role, Perlman organized and promoted the Super Bowl halftime show, one of the most-watched events, each year. Her crowning achievement was booking U2 and overseeing their iconic performance at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI — the first Super Bowl to be played after September 11, 2001. She also oversaw the creation of the NFL Kickoff Concert event, booked players on Dancing with the Stars, collaborated with the makers of the movies “Draft Day” and “The Blindside,” and launched “Lombardi” the play.
In 2014, Perlman was named as one of Billboard’s Power 100, and, in 2012, was named one of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers.
Senior Vice President of Officiating
Alberto Riveron, a member of the NFL’s Officiating Department since 2013 and a nine-year veteran NFL game official, is the NFL senior vice president of officiating.
Riveron oversees all aspects of the league’s officiating department – including the implementation of the centralized replay model approved by clubs at the annual meeting in March – as well as administration, evaluation and development.
A native of Cuba, Riveron moved to Miami at age five with his family and developed a passion for the game. He began as an official in local youth leagues in 1977, made his collegiate officiating debut in 1990 before joining the NFL officiating ranks in 2004. In 2008, Riveron was promoted to referee, earning the distinction as the NFL’s first Hispanic referee. Riveron came off the field following the 2012 season to join the league office as senior director of officiating.
“Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Prior to that, Al was an outstanding on-field official who earned the respect of his fellow officials, as well as coaches and players alike.”
Reporting to Riveron, who reports to NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, are Russell Yurk, vice president of instant replay and administration, and Wayne Mackie, vice president of officiating evaluation and development.