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 COVID-19 Protocols

Social Justice

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. 

Impact of Television

How television has changed the game.


In the NFL, balancing technology with tradition.

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

NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

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

NFL Rules Digest

A quick reference guide to the NFL rulebook.

Signals Intelligence

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

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.

2018-19 Big Data Bowl

Recap of the NFL's inaugural Big Data Bowl.


Congratulations to the winners of the NFL’s inaugural Big Data Bowl. Finalists presented their findings to members of the NFL league office, team executives, industry-leading representatives and league sponsors at the NFL Combine. The two grand prize winners received four tickets to a 2019 regular season NFL game and a $1,000 gift card.



Matthew Reyers, Dani Chu, Lucas Wu, James Thomson, Simon Fraser University  Routes to Success

  • The group modeled play success rate and expected points under various passing route combinations. Using a technique called model-based clustering, the group found several complementary pass route patterns that could consistently yield positive outcomes, even when accounting for defensive formation and behavior.
  • Key Stat: Through effective pass route combinations, an offense could control roughly 70% of the field.


Nathan Sterken  RouteNet: a convolutional neural network for classifying routes

  • Sterken treated receiver routes as an image recognition problem, using a neural network to categorize each route. Once grouped, these patterns were compared to win probability added (the change in the offensive team’s chance of winning the game before and after the play).
  • Key Stat: The flat-in-post route, a staple of the Steve Spurrier days at the University of Florida, was the best three-receiver route combination.

Recap of the first-ever Big Data Bowl.



Kyle Burris, Duke University  A trajectory planning algorithm for quantifying space ownership in professional football

  • Burris used metrics like player speed, direction and acceleration to chart the space occupied by the 22 players on the field. One example highlighted a 64-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Johnny Holton to show how Holton’s speed and direction indicated that he was moving towards an open space well before he looked open on the field.
  • Key Stat: In the play above, Carr released the pass only 0.3 seconds after Holton beat his defender, suggesting the quarterback knew he was going to Holton before the receiver broke free.

Peter Wu, Brendon Gu, Carnegie Mellon University  DIRECT: A two-level system for defensive interference rooted in repeatability, enforceability, clarity, and transparency

  • Wu and Gu merged statistical modeling techniques with potential changes in penalty calls and receiver catch probability to consider new standards for defensive pass interference and defensive holding.
  • Key Stat: There appear to be two peaks in catch probabilities on pass interference calls, about 55% and 75%, which suggests the feasibility of a two-level foul system.

Jack Soslow, Jake Flancer, Eric Dong, Andrew Castle, University of Pennsylvania  Using autoencoded receiver routes to optimize yardage

  • The group presented three unique ways to represent pass route data, including time series and shape-based clustering. Merging in-play and game-specific traits, the group suggested that hitch routes are generally an underused strategy for increasing efficiency.
  • Key Stat: Roughly one in three Odell Beckham pass routes was classified as a 10-yard curl pattern.


Sameer Deshpande, Katherine Evans  Expected hypothetical completion probability

  • Deshpande and Evans tracked receiver catch probability across entire pass routes. Their approach allows for an estimation of the receiver’s performance regardless of when and where the pass was thrown.
  • Key Stat: On an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp during Week 1 of the 2017 season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff had another receiver that was more open than Kupp. Roughly 1.5 seconds into his drop-back, had Goff thrown to Robert Woods, the pass would have had a 92% catch probability.

Cathy Ha, Lucas Calestini  Efficient speed usage and the impact of fatigue in speed performance: an exploratory study

  • Ha and Calestini looked at the link between play specific factors such as play type, game factors (home vs. away, game surface, weather), and player fatigue (rest since last play, intensity of last play) and their impact on player speed efficiency.
  • Key Stat: Alvin Kamara had the highest speed efficiency of any ball carrier during the first 6 weeks of the 2017 season.

Adam Vonder Haar  Exploratory data analysis of passing plays using NFL tracking data

  • Vonder Haar classified routes and defensive space allocation to identify which route combinations yielded the most open receivers. His approach using convex hulls to characterize defender spacing was particularly novel.
  • Key Stat: The receiver generating the highest maximum separation was only targeted on about one in five plays in the first six weeks of the 2017 season.