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.

College Advisory Committee

There are no guarantees in the NFL Draft. The College Advisory Committee makes sure that players have all the facts. 

To some, the NFL Draft serves as the “final exam” for measuring the skill that each club has at determining and choosing talent.

Clubs draw from thousands of scouting reports, medical evaluations, and personal interactions to decide which players can turn around a struggling franchise or fill in gaps to make a good team into an exceptional one.

Before clubs select a single player, NFL Football Operations goes through an exhaustive process of verifying players’ draft eligibility. This means that the NFL’s Player Personnel department researches and verifies the educational and athletic participation history of thousands of players that may be eligible for the Draft. League staff review college teams’ media guides and websites, contact college coaches, compliance officers and football administrators, and communicate with the student-athletes.


Before the Rams selected Jared Goff with the 1st overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Goff had to apply for special eligibility so he could enter the draft after his junior season at Cal. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Before the Rams selected Jared Goff with the 1st overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Goff had to apply for special eligibility so he could enter the draft after his junior season at Cal. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

In recent years, the number of underclassmen who have applied to gain early entry into the Draft (“special eligibility”) has steadily increased. In certain cases, it may be the player’s best move; in most, though, the player may be drafted lower than he anticipated, or not at all. In these cases, the player has now forfeited the rest of his college eligibility and has given up his best chance to earn a degree while improving his football skills.

Only 1.6 percent of all NCAA football players ever make it to professional level.

To help both the clubs, who want NFL-ready players in the Draft, and the student-athletes, who are looking to enter the Draft early, the NFL relies on its College Advisory Committee. The Committee, which includes high-level personnel evaluators from NFL clubs and directors from the league’s two sanctioned scouting organizations (National Football Scouting and BLESTO), advises underclassmen on their draft prospects before they make a formal request to the league to join the Draft.

The College Advisory Committee’s process for determining whether underclassmen are ready for the pro game changed in 2014. Under the revised NFL guidelines, a college can request evaluations for only five players, with exceptions determined on a case-by-case basis; previously, there was no limit on the number of players from one team who could be reviewed.

The ratings system was revised as well. In previous years, the Committee would evaluate players in one of five categories: potential first-round pick, potential second-round pick, potential third-round pick, no potential for the first three rounds or no draft potential at all.

The new ratings are much simpler: potential first round, potential second round, or neither, which is effectively a recommendation to stay in school.

“While some like to debate the advantages of declaring early for the draft, one thing is for certain: Completing your education affords you more opportunity and financial freedom beyond football.”

TROY VINCENT, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NFL FOOTBALL OPERATIONS

Ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft, the College Advisory Committee evaluated 149 underclassmen, 53 of whom (35.6 percent) declared their special eligibility. Twenty of the 53 players were evaluated as potential first- or second-round picks (six potential first-round picks and 14 potential second-round picks). Of those 20, 18 (90 percent) were, in fact, selected in the first two rounds. The other two were selected in the third round.

The next year, the CAC evaluated 173 underclassmen, 65 of whom (37.6 percent) declared early for the 2016 Draft. Twenty five of the 65 players received potential first- or second-round evaluations (two potential first-round picks and 23 potential second-round picks). Nineteen of the 25 (76 percent), were selected in the first two rounds. The remaining six were selected in the third (3), fourth (2) and fifth (1) rounds.

In 2016, a student athlete advised to remain in school but who declared for the Draft was almost three times more likely to go undrafted as to be drafted in the first two rounds.

Since 2015, the 45 players receiving either a first- or second-round evaluation had a drafted-round average of 1.89. Five were drafted in the third round and only three were drafted later than that.

Players Given a First-or Second-Round Evaluation

Round Selected

2015

2016

Combined

1

10

9

19

2

8

10

18

3

2

3

5

4

0

2

2

5

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

7

0

1

1

FA

0

0

0

Total

20

25

45

Weighted Draft Avg.

1.6

2.12

1.89

Over that same time, the 73 players who received a “remain-in-school” evaluation had a drafted-round average of 5.12, with 20 (27.4 percent) going undrafted.

Players Given a Remain-in School Evaluation

Round Selected

2015

2016

Combined

1

2

1

3

2

4

4

8

3

8

5

13

4

5

2

7

5

2

7

9

6

5

1

6

7

1

6

7

FA

6

14

20

Total

33

40

73

Weighted Draft Avg.

4.52

5.68

5.12

“We want the student-athlete to make an informed decision,” said Troy Vincent, executive vice president of NFL Football Operations. “Use our resources, make an informed decision. Each institution has those resources for every prospect and every head coach. The numbers and the facts speak for themselves.”

The NFL encourages most underclassmen to finish their college eligibility and earn a degree while maturing as a professional prospect. Participating in the Draft means that an underclassman loses his remaining eligibility: If he is not selected by an NFL team, he will not be able to play another college season and he will not be able to improve his draft standing for the following year’s draft.

“Declaring for the Draft doesn’t guarantee success in the NFL,” said Vincent. “This honest assessment informs the student-athlete, in very realistic terms, of his likelihood of being drafted in the first two rounds — or recommending that he should not forfeit his remaining college eligibility, and complete his education while improving his football skills and maturity.”

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