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.

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. 

Technology

In the NFL, balancing technology with tradition.

Big Data Bowl

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

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.

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.

2019 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

2019 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.   

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

Probability models for the new 14-team playoff system

Last week, the NFL owners voted to expand the postseason from six to seven teams per conference. In the new format, the No. 1 seed is now the only team with a first-round bye. The No. 2 seed will face the No. 7 seed on Wild Card weekend. The third through sixth seed opening matchups remain the same as they were under the 12-team format that went into effect in 1990.

The graph below shows how each seed’s estimated probability of winning the Super Bowl changes under the new playoff format. The dots represent the probability of winning the Super Bowl under the old format, the arrow extends to the new probability under this format. The text on the right shows the change in probability.

Statistical models inspired by this paper were used to determine a distribution of each team’s strength, the value of home-field advantage and the value of having a bye. For each game, these factors were used to determine each team’s probability of winning any given matchup. Under this model, we simulated the playoffs 100,000 times for each format with a variety of possible team strengths for each seed to account for how each postseason can differ. The number of Super Bowl wins by seed is divided by the number of simulations to calculate the probabilities.

Only the No. 2 seed sees a decrease in the probability of winning the Super Bowl — primarily because they lose a first-round bye and now play an additional game, introducing another chance to be eliminated. The probability for the No. 1 seed increases because it now has a lower chance of playing the No. 2 seed in the Conference Championship, and a greater chance of playing a lower-seeded team. The probabilities of the remaining seeds all increase because they are now more likely to avoid higher-seeded teams and to host a playoff game in the Divisional or Conference Rounds. Since the No. 7 seed didn’t exist before, its probability increases from 0% to 2.9%.

Interestingly, the No. 5 seed has a slightly higher probability than the No. 4 seed in both formats. This is likely because the fifth seed often has a better record (and underlying team strength) as the best of the 12 non-division winners, while the No. 4 seed has the worst record of the four division winners.

This new format makes earning the top seed more important and gives two additional teams a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy, which should lead to even more exciting regular season and playoff football.

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