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 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.

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 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.

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 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. 6.2.5

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

What Numbers Tell Us About Preseason Play Time

One aspect of football that has recently been a point of discussion is the role of preseason games. As of the 1978 season, teams have almost always played four preseason games in each season. 

To assess how preseason games may have changed over the past decade or so, our Football Operations data and analytics group analyzed team behavior dealing with the playtime of players who started for their teams during Week 1 of the regular season. When looking at this group of eventual starters, how often did they play in each of the four preseason weeks? 

The following chart shows the percent of possible snaps for Week 1 starters in each week of the preseason, as well as Week 1 of the regular season. Averaged across all positions, starters typically play about 80-85 percent of the available snaps in a regular season game, a rate which has mostly stayed consistent over time. This is important, as it suggests that any drop in playtime is not due to coaches using player rotations more often.

Alternatively, playtime in preseason games for Week 1 starters has dropped substantially over the last decade. In the figure, the lines in blue have been trending downwards for several years, reaching all-time lows for playtime in 2019. 

Some facts that stood out:

  • Among preseason Week 3 games (abbreviated as Pre W3 in the chart), Week 1 starters played nearly 50 percent of available snaps in 2010. In 2019, Week 1 starters played 23.6 percent of available snaps.
  • Week 1 starters only played 1.7 percent of available snaps in preseason Week 4 games in 2019.
  • The year-over-year drop in preseason participation of Week 1 starters was larger this past year (2019 vs. 2018) than in any previous period over the last decade.
  • In 2019, there were 85 regular season Week 1 starters that did not play a single snap during the preseason. From 2008 to 2018, the league averaged 24 such players per season.

Altogether, snap time percentages among Week 1 starters dropped to new lows in 2019, information that is valuable as the league assesses the role of preseason games in the context of the larger framework of NFL scheduling.

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