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.

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. 

Gameday: 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 four NFL executives to create the NFL’s 256-game masterpiece.

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 the NFL and its partners provide to help every player before, during and after his football career.

NFL Legends Community

Celebrating, educating, embracing and connecting all former NFL players with each other, their former teams and the league.

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 command 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.

2018 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

2018 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.   

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.

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.

NFL Gameday Frequency Coordinators

Keeping the lines of communication clear on gameday.

Southwest Airlines pilots’ conversations, a rehearsal for a concert by Madonna and a food concession worker’s request for more popcorn all have one thing in common: Each has interfered with the frequency that delivers a coach’s play calls to his quarterback.
(AP Photo/Scott Boehm)

(AP Photo/Scott Boehm)

Doppler radar from local TV stations and a TV network’s experiment with using cameras inside end zone pylons have interfered with the NFL’s sideline Wi-Fi; which is needed for getting play photos to the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets on each bench.

And it all happened because they were trying to communicate or use a piece of equipment that was operating on the same frequencies that were being used by the league during an NFL game.

Preventing such interference — or clearing it up quickly — is the job of one of a little-known group of skilled individuals working behind the scenes for the NFL: the Gameday Frequency Coordinator (or GDC as they are often referred to by others in the industry). These specialists track and manage hundreds of frequencies to keep the thousands of “in-stadium” frequency-dependent devices operational. They also account for interference from sources outside of the stadium, such as TV stations and other special events.

“Right now, our job is to fit these hundreds of users into around 25 MHz of useable spectrum,” NFL’s senior frequency coordinator, Karl Voss, said in a May 2014 interview with Audio Gloss, a blog published by RF Venue, an audio technology company. “Everybody seems to think that [a radio frequency] is theirs to use as they please and do not consider what or who it may be affecting. If they are not having a problem, then it’s all okay ... The job of the GDC is to make sure that multiple users can operate cleanly at an event while not causing any others a problem. What we try to do is give as many people we can, the tools that they need to do their job within reason.”

Quarterbacks, defensive play-callers, coaches and game officials all depend on Frequency Coordinators to ensure that their systems are interference-free. These along with the TV Networks, local TV stations, radio medical and security personnel, NFL’s instant replay and injury video review systems, stadium staff, and halftime entertainers are just some of the others that depend on the GDG to coordinate frequencies that will allow them to do their jobs.

Coordinators start preparing well before the game, collecting requests from users for a designated spot in the spectrum; entering them into a database and assigning frequencies. Not everyone gets what they ask for. The requests from broadcasters alone can be massive. So, coordinators must prioritize and, if necessary, work with the users to agree to share frequencies to make maximum use of what’s available.

Demands have gotten so high, Voss told RF Venue, that coordinators now are forced to do “time division” — assigning the same frequency to multiple users for use at specific times. They also might provide two users the same frequency at the same time, but with the usage restricted to physically separated zones to avoid interference.

On gameday, Voss said, everyone assigned a frequency enters the stadium at the same gate, where coordinators or assistants check that all devices are on their assigned frequencies. Devices are tagged to identify where and when they can be used.

Before the game, coordinators scan the most critical frequencies, check in with news crews to locate unregistered devices such as wireless microphones. They also introduce themselves to key league, team and broadcast personnel. By kickoff, they move a reserved seat with an unobstructed view of the field, an Internet connection, a telephone and enough countertop space to accommodate their equipment, which includes a frequency counter and a scanner/receiver. From this location they can monitor the frequencies they have assigned and also search for potential issues.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stays connected to his team thanks to the NFL's gameday frequency coordinators. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stays connected to his team thanks to the NFL's gameday frequency coordinators. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

“When problems arise during a game, coordinators or their assistants identify the source of the interference with spectrum analyzers and direction-finding equipment. They have become more proactive, using the equipment to spot and correct potential frequency conflicts before problems arise," said Michelle McKenna-Doyle, the NFL’s chief information officer.

On the field, the NFL has contingency plans to provide fail-safe operations of the Coach-to-Coach (C2C) and Coach-to-Player (C2P) communications systems. The Frequency Coordinators play an important role by monitoring the environment and identifying any interference issues that could threaten the successful operation of these systems.

When gameday coordinators identify the source of a frequency interference problem, they don’t mess around.

The league’s goal of providing frequency coordination services is to resolve issues without conflict and ensure all RF users have a successful event. The coordinators prepare a pre-event plan and work with any unregistered users — commonly referred to as “Coord-Nots” — to get them entered into the database. The NFL has strict policies governing the use of RF equipment at their events and uncoordinated devices are prohibited. The coordinators determine if a frequency can be assigned to them, and if not, the GDC works with the user to find an alternate solution. Sometimes they can share with another crew or it may be necessary to hardwire the microphone. In some instances, operators not following the policies may have his or her working credential revoked and denied access to the stadium on gameday. The NFL maintains a nationwide database of repeat offenders who are at risk of losing their privileges for a longer term.

The integrity of the game and the seamlessness of the event depend on it.

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