Life After the Game
Creating the game plan for life after football.
Protecting the integrity of the greatest game.
It's our responsibility to strengthen the sport.
Ensuring a consistent and fair game that is decided on the field, by the players.
Ensuring that players conduct themselves in a way that honors the sport and respects the game.
Knees Bent. Pads Down. Head Up.
The NFL is proud of the HBCU professional football legacy.
Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
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.
Countdown to kickoff: how NFL games happen.
In the NFL, balancing technology with tradition.
How television has changed the game.
Upon further review…
It takes hundreds of computers and four NFL executives to create the NFL’s 256-game masterpiece.
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.
Creating an NFL player: from “everyman” to “superman.”
Supporting the next generation of players and fans.
Preparing players of all ages for success at football’s highest level.
Introducing the next wave of NFL superstars.
A look at the programs the NFL and its partners provide to help every player before, during and after his football career.
Celebrating, educating, embracing and connecting all former NFL players with each other, their former teams and the league.
Discover the evolution of professional officiating, the weekly evaluation process and how the NFL identifies and develops the next generation of officials.
“One thing hasn’t changed: the pressure. It will always be there.”
The latest information from the NFL's officiating command center.
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 an NFL game takes years of training and experience.
NFL Football Operations protects the integrity of the game by ensuring that the rules and the officiating are consistent and fair to all competitors.
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.
The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.
Explore the official rules of the game.
The NFL's procedures for breaking ties for postseason playoffs.
The NFL's familiar hand signals help fans better understand the game.
Sharpen your NFL football knowledge with this glossary of the game's fundamental terms.
See where the players line up in pro football's most common offensive and defensive formations.
Understand what the graphics on NFL television broadcasts mean and how they can help you get the most out of watching NFL games.
The NFL’s instant replay review process focuses on expediting instant replay reviews and ensuring consistency. Learn how it works.
Go inside the game with the NFL's official game stats. Sort the stats by season or by week.
Chart and compare the NFL Football Operations stats you're looking for with the NFL's data tool.
Get a snapshot of the current NFL game stats, updated weekly during the regular season.
Creating the game plan for life after football.
Fortunately, when you’re ready to make your next play, the NFL is committed to helping you prepare for what’s next.
Playing in the NFL is a singular experience, marked by intense rivalries and lasting friendships. It’s exhilarating, heart-wrenching, and a tremendous source of pride all at once. It’s the culmination of a lifetime of commitment and years of hard work. NFL players are the best of the best. For most who have played, it’s the best job they have ever had.
The NFL knows that former players have skills and knowledge that make them uniquely qualified to contribute to the sport, and works to connect players with opportunities in the league. Programs like the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy, the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship and the Officiating Development Program give players a chance to stay involved with football.
The NFL also helps players who want to pursue careers outside of football. The NFL Player Engagement Next programs help players explore careers, network with peers and legends, and learn ways to live well long after the game. Whether these retired players are learning entrepreneurial skills or receiving intensive instruction in a variety of industries, the league is there to help.
No matter which path players choose, all are eligible to participate in the NFL’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) — an annual session where players, their partners and their families work with transition experts from Georgia Tech to develop a plan. The first program of its kind in professional sports, TAP addresses the long-standing need to prepare for the transition away from the field.
The program caters to each individual’s unique situation by developing personalized plans for every participant. No two players leave the NFL with the same experiences or goals for the future, so there is no one-size-fits-all course of action for TAP participants.
Ex-players get support from NFL transition coaches — former players who have already experienced the physical and psychological aspects of transition. Establishing a support network for players re-creates the bond of the locker room, expediting the process of preparing for the professional, financial and social demands of life beyond football.
“The lessons I learned through football have helped carry me through law school. I got so much out of the game, out of the profession, not to mention the friends I made. But I couldn't rest on that. I had to keep pushing.”
KRIS WILSON, EIGHT-YEAR NFL VETERAN
TAP isn’t designed to teach players how to achieve; instead, it focuses on repurposing the drive and passion that propelled them to athletic success for use in their careers off the field. Their on-field careers may have ended, but their experiences have prepared them to succeed in whatever comes next.
Most successful players leave football with an unmatched appreciation for the nuances of the sport. Knowing the Xs and Os makes former players ideal candidates for coaching careers. Understanding this, the NFL has a range of programs to put former players on the path to become coaches.
The NFL’s Career Development Symposium connects coaching and management prospects with current NFL front-office personnel to learn more about the inner workings of football. Held annually at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the three-day Career Development Symposium offers attendees access to high-level presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Aspiring coaches and general managers learn about the demands and expectations that come with those positions.
“The thing about becoming a head coach is now you're leading an entire team and staff of coaches. That's a big step up from coordinating or leading a position unit — a lot of it depends on leadership training, which always comes back to character.”
MATT BIRK, NFL DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT
Together, the NFL and the NCAA run the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy program, which introduces former college and professional players to the intricacies of the coaching profession. Participants learn about personal values, individual behavior styles and the viability of a career in coaching. Participants get the chance to work with established coaches, business leaders and athletic administrators to better understand the demands of coaching football at the professional level. Connecting former players and current NCAA coaches helps participants learn how to get involved with — and thrive in — college coaching.
The Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship gives minority coaches an opportunity to observe and participate with NFL clubs at their training camps and offseason workouts. They gain invaluable insight and experience that could lead to a full-time coaching job in the league. Alumni of the fellowship program include Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (whose team won Super Bowl XLIII), Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith.
“The development of this diverse pool of coaching and front-office talent keeps the NFL strong now and into the future.”
TROY VINCENT, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF NFL FOOTBALL OPERATIONS
Ex-players also have an unmatched understanding of the rules of the game. That’s why they make ideal candidates to join the officiating ranks after their playing days end. The NFL’s Officiating Development Program and its Legends Officiating Development Program (LODP) educate players on the path to an officiating career.
Officiating provides former players with an opportunity to stay on the football field, experience the thrill of competition and contribute to the game they love. The LODP — part of the NFL’s Football Officiating Academy — provides transitioning players with a customized program and an accelerated path into officiating. Former and current players shadow high-level officials at organized team activities, training camps and officiating clinics. The program connects them with mentors who coach and support them as they advance through the officiating ranks.
"We all love the game, or we wouldn’t play it for as long as we do. It’s in our blood. As a recently retired player, it is important for me to stay involved in the game. Becoming an official is the perfect way to achieve this goal." — Nate Jones, eight-year NFL veteran
Success in football gives former college and professional players a keen understanding of what makes a player successful — making them ideal candidates for evaluating talent for college and NFL programs. To help develop new scouts, the NFL created the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship to educate players, in a professional setting, on how to spot talent. Fellows shadow scouts from NFL clubs for a season-long internship and get hands-on experience in evaluating talent. While in the program, participants serve as full-time members of an NFL scouting staff, learning the process from the ground up.
The NFL recognizes that its players bring a unique drive and passion to the game. Helping former players succeed after their playing careers end — whether they stay in football or follow another path — gives back to those who make the sport great and strengthens the game for future generations, ensuring that football remains a vibrant aspect of American culture.