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

Where Do Ball Carriers Tend to Move?

Where do ball carriers tend to move?

The primary theme of the NFL’s second Big Data Bowl, a competition that crowdsources analytical insight into football data, is to predict performance on rush plays. From the moment a ball carrier takes a handoff, where will he end up?

As part of the contest, participants receive snapshots of Next Gen Stats player tracking data from every 2017 and 2018 handoff play. This data includes the speed, angle and direction in which each of the 22 players on the field were moving. One potential input for competitors to consider using in their predictions is the angle in which the ball carrier was moving when he got the ball. As an example, players moving towards the sideline may simultaneously be more likely to be stuffed for a loss and to pick up big yardage (if, for example, he were to outrun defenders). 

One cool plot that can be made from the data (see the statistical code for yourself) is a sonar chart. Initially popularized in soccer by Eliot McKinley, sonars allow us to identify the angles that players tend to move. With ball carriers, the size of each sonar band corresponds to the frequency with which ball carriers are moving in each binned direction group, and the color reflects how successful they are with the ball. Success rate is determined by down and distance (e.g., a three-yard run play on first-and-10 is not a success, while it is a success on third-and-two). 

Here’s a sonar for each player who led his team in carries during the 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. Bands are pointing up, corresponding to players moving from the bottom of the screen to the top, and consist of data from each the past two seasons.

Expand sonar chart.

Expand sonar chart.

Compare the sonars of Gus Edwards (Baltimore Ravens) and Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints). Both boast success rates around 60%, but Edwards did most of his damage up the middle, while Kamara tended to get the ball off-tackle. Alternatively, as you’ll see near the bottom right of the chart, then-Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (outside runs) and New England Patriots back Sony Michel (up the middle) also offer a nice contrast. 

Information provided in sonars is just one of the many features available for Big Data Bowl contestants to use as they develop their algorithms. Stay tuned for the end of the 2019 regular season, where a live leaderboard will help determine the most accurate predictor of ball carrier success — and the Big Data Bowl title that comes with it.

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