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.

Fines & Appeals

The NFL's schedule of infractions and fines, and a process for appeal.

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.

2017 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

2017 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.   

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.

Sideline of the Future

The NFL and Microsoft partner to offer a new view of the game.

It’s been more than 30 years since John Madden first used a Telestrator to dissect plays and formations for viewers. Yet as recently as 2013, NFL coaches and players on the sidelines still relied on black-and-white printouts to do essentially the same thing for themselves.
Former Oakland Raiders head coach and television commentator John Madden practices using the electronic charting device 'Telestrator' that was used to illustrate plays during Super Bowl XVI at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. (AP Photo/File)

Former Oakland Raiders head coach and television commentator John Madden practices using the electronic charting device 'Telestrator' that was used to illustrate plays during Super Bowl XVI at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. (AP Photo/File)

NFL fans are used to seeing players and coaches huddled on the sidelines, strategizing over depictions of their opponents’ formations and tendencies. This scene raised a fairly obvious question: How can a high-tech league still rely on black-and-white printouts? 

The simple answer: The league hadn’t yet found a system that met its rigid standards. 

The NFL’s partnership with Microsoft does that — and more. Already, it has helped teams improve player safety and has enhanced the home-viewing experience.

The league is moving away from the days when a printer behind a team’s bench spit out black-and-white snapshots, transmitted via fiber optic cables and quickly assembled in binders by team “runners” for coaches and players to view. 

Starting in the 2014 season, all teams have sideline access to league-provided, specially configured Microsoft Surface tablets, on which they receive high-resolution color images almost instantaneously. 

The Sideline Viewing System available on Microsoft Surface tablets offers coaches immediate and dynamic options for analyzing their opponents’ strategy and formations during a game. For now, teams can still use photo printouts in binders. (AP Photo/Paul Jasienski) (AP Photo/Kevin Terrell)

The Sideline Viewing System available on Microsoft Surface tablets offers coaches immediate and dynamic options for analyzing their opponents’ strategy and formations during a game. For now, teams can still use photo printouts in binders. (AP Photo/Paul Jasienski) (AP Photo/Kevin Terrell)

The Sideline Viewing System app lets coaches zoom in, make annotations, review plays and tag 'favorites' for later review. As with the old system — but in a more immediate, flexible and efficient way — teams use the information to adjust play-calling and instruct their players as the game unfolds. 

Teams still can use the printouts if they prefer. But with the app, coaches can more easily look at plays from earlier in the game. And they get access to the photo at least 30 seconds faster, which can prove invaluable for making adjustments on the fly.

The Sideline Viewing System lets coaches easily analyze a series of plays, organize them by category or bookmark a play for later viewing. (AP Photo/Perry Knotts)

The Sideline Viewing System lets coaches easily analyze a series of plays, organize them by category or bookmark a play for later viewing. (AP Photo/Perry Knotts)

TABLETS TOUGH ENOUGH FOR THE NFL 

A trio of Microsoft Surface tablets are seen on a sideline during an NFL football game.  (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

A trio of Microsoft Surface tablets are seen on a sideline during an NFL football game. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

The league takes technological changes very seriously. Any change must improve the game and work reliably, and it cannot favor one team over another. With these demands in mind, Microsoft worked closely with the NFL and its Competition Committee to make sure that the Surface was up to the task. 

Microsoft customized off-the-shelf Surface tablets to meet the league’s demands: They had to withstand heat, cold, rain and glare, so they were rigorously tested and modified until fit for game action. (For example, each has an attached stylus so staff and players wearing gloves during cold weather can use the device.)

Above all else, the tablets needed to be ready for both teams at a moment’s notice. They had to be able to stand up to the occasional drop, hold a charge through an entire game and flawlessly connect to the stadium’s network through which data is transmitted. 

The tablets are identically configured; teams cannot access the Internet or install any app or feature that might give them a competitive edge. The league locks the tablets away until just before kickoff and collects them as soon as the game ends. 

KEEPING TABS ON HEALTH

Microsoft Surface tablets also are helping trainers diagnose and treat injured players.

For players with a possible head injury, medical staff can use X2 Biosystems’ concussion assessment app — which compares how a player answers a specific set of questions before and after a possible head injury — to determine whether a player should be allowed to return to the game. While not the sole factor in that decision-making process, the X2 test is a vital component.

Trainers also use the Surface tablets to keep other important player medical information at their fingertips. For road games, the devices allow information from players’ electronic medical records to be available on the sidelines during play.

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