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.

Return To Play

2020 NFL-NFLPA CBA: Need to know

Key takeaways from the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement 

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 and Out.

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. 

Game Day: Behind the Scenes

Countdown to kickoff: how NFL games happen.

Game Day Assistants

See the NFL personnel at every game, what they do and you can identify them. 


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 five NFL executives to create the NFL’s 256-game masterpiece.

Big Data Bowl

The annual analytics contest explores statistical innovations in football — how the game is played and coached.

Youth Football

Promoting the values of football.

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.

NFL Legends Community

Strengthening the NFL brotherhood.

NFL Total Wellness

NFL Total Wellness assists players, Legends and their families before, during and after their playing experiences.

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 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.

2020 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

2020 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis

NFL Overtime Rules

Signals Intelligence

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

NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

The NFL's procedures for breaking ties for postseason playoffs.

NFL Rules Digest

A quick reference guide to the NFL rulebook.

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.

The Extra Point

Welcome to the Extra Point, where members of the NFL's football data and analytics team will share updates on league-wide trends in football data, interesting visualizations that showcase innovative ways to use the league's data, and provide an inside look at how the NFL uses data-driven insight to improve and monitor player and team performance.

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.

The Extra Point

Aaron Rodgers Takes Advantage of Free Plays Better Than Anyone

Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s career leader in passer rating, a two-time MVP and seven-time Pro Bowler. But there’s one thing he’s even better at than passing the ball — taking advantage of the “free play.”

As the quarterback is calling signals, an early jump by a defensive player is a five-yard defensive offside penalty. If the center snaps the ball before that defensive player is a threat, the offense can still run a play. This instance is called a "free play" because even under the worst-case scenario — say, an interception — an offense can still go back and take the initial five-yard penalty.

Since 2006, Rodgers leads all quarterbacks with 84 passes thrown on free plays. And no one has attempted more deep free shots than Rodgers, either. Check out the plot below, which highlights the air yards each quarterback has thrown for after drawing an offside penalty from the defense.

Each of the 170 quarterbacks with at least one free play in his career is shown in the plot with the grey lines, with six standout quarterbacks highlighted. 

Rodgers stands alone. Beginning in 2010, he has thrown for approximately 225 air yards a season on offside calls alone. More precisely, roughly once every other game Rodgers earned a free shot downfield, averaging 25 air yards on these throws. No quarterback is within 900 yards of Rodgers in total on this stat since 2006.

Rodgers owns the top three individual seasons in air yards on free plays, peaking in 2015, when he attempted 16 passes for a total of 407 yards downfield (25.4 air yards per free play). Of those 16, seven were complete, including two touchdown passes to James Jones.

“Free play — Rodgers has made a living on this,” said ESPN’s then-Monday Night Football announcer Mike Tirico when calling one of Jones’ touchdown grabs in 2015 (video below). “Draw the offside, know it’s a free play, take the shot downfield.”

While Rodgers has owned air yards on free plays over the last decade, one young quarterback has started on a blazing path — Kansas City Chiefs signal caller Patrick Mahomes. In 2018, Mahomes tossed 15 passes after getting a free play, completing nine, and throwing the ball a total of 234 yards downfield. 

Which quarterbacks have been the least aggressive off of an offside call? 

Current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown just 13 career passes off a free play, which traveled a total distance of 87 yards downfield (6.7 air yards per free play). Deshaun Watson (six passes, 56 air yards, or 9.3 air yards per free play), Kurt Warner (12 passes, 48 air yards, 4.0 air yards per free play) and even Peyton Manning (17 passes, 121 air yards, 7.1 air yards per free play) stand out as the opposites of Rodgers.