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.

Return To Play

2020 NFL-NFLPA CBA: Need to know

Key takeaways from the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement 

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. 


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.

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

Signals Intelligence

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

NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

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

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.

Scouting the Next NFL Officials

“Officiate every game and every play of every game as if it is an NFL interview because you never know who may be watching.”


Of the thousands of football officials nationwide, only 121 with the experience, technical skills, athleticism, and character to call the game at its highest level currently officiate in the National Football League. To ensure they always have the most qualified officials prepared to join the NFL, scouts across the country evaluate officials at all levels of football to identify potential NFL officials. The league then uses this prospect pool to develop and choose their next officials.

Scouting For Talent

As these candidates, men and women, continue to officiate games, the scouts monitor their progress, act as mentors, and help the candidates advance through the officiating ranks.

The Officiating Department’s scouting team — led by Wayne Mackie, VP of officiating, and David Wyant, head of officiating recruiting and scouting — is essential to the League’s commitment to identifying and developing prospects who may one day become NFL officials. With more than 30 years of NFL officiating experience combined, Mackie and Wyant lead the training and evaluation of over 65 national scouts from 31 different states.

Scouts look for officials with great potential by attending more than 500 games each season at various levels, though the primary focus is on college games. The NFL Officiating Department staff themselves attend about 50 games a season, including those that feature the League’s ODP prospects, including the post-season college all-star games.

With their extensive knowledge of football officiating and training from the NFL Officiating Department, scouts mainly use two methods to find the next generation of officials to add to the database: “bird-dogging” and word-of-mouth scouting.

A scout “bird-dogs” high school and college football games — meaning that, with no existing knowledge of the officials in that game, the scout shows up to evaluate the officials. Not every game features an official who catches a scout’s eye, but occasionally one stands out.

If an official makes a positive impression while working a game at which an NFL scout is present, the scout will notify the NFL Officiating Department to add that official to the officiating database.

Scouts and the NFL Officiating Department also rely on word-of-mouth, working closely with local, state, and college associations, as well as other officials to hear about standouts they should observe. Scouts tap their officiating networks to identify and follow prospects, but that doesn’t limit their focus to just that official. Occasionally, another crew member stands out and ends up on that scout’s radar.

During games, scouts comment on each game official’s performance, using a standardized form, for the benefit of NFL Officiating Department.

The current pool of officiating candidates is comprised of high school and college officials, and includes former NFL players, graduates of the NFL’s Football Officiating Academy, and women working to become officials. All of the officials have been evaluated to some extent and once in the database, continue to have their progress tracked by the NFL Officiating Department staff.

Spotting Necessary Traits

NFL officiating scouts are trained to recognize the distinct qualities that separate NFL-quality officials from the rest. Scouts look for officials who exhibit the following traits during every play of a game:

  • Accuracy in enforcing penalties, and the ability to make consistent calls from play-to-play and game-to-game;
  • Physical fitness and a professional appearance;
  • Field presence, which includes decisiveness, professionalism, communication and steady game oversight;
  • Understanding and correct application of the rules;
  • The knowledge and ability to execute correct mechanics and procedures with confidence and precision; and
  • Personal qualities demonstrated by striving for improvement, leading by example and maintaining integrity.