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It's our responsibility to strengthen the sport.
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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.
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Get a snapshot of the current NFL game stats, updated weekly during the regular season.
The NFL has named Dr. Nicholas Theodore Chairman of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, a board of independent and NFL-affiliated physicians and scientists, including advisors for the NFLPA. The committee brings together some of the foremost experts in brain and spinal trauma to advise the league on neuroscience, concussion and other health and safety issues.
Dr. Theodore is the Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center. His research focuses on trauma, brain and spinal cord injuries, minimally invasive surgery and robotics. He has also served as the team neurosurgeon for the Arizona Cardinals and as a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Coyotes.
"At the NFL, we are grateful for the medical and scientific experts who shape our health and safety initiatives, and I look forward to working with Dr. Theodore in his new leadership position," said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. "His clinical expertise—in addition to his extensive experience in injury prevention—will further advance our commitment to player health and safety."
"Dr. Theodore will be a dynamic leader of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee at a time when significant progress is being made in injury surveillance, athlete care and scientific research," said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives. "He will build on the substantial work of the previous leaders and further advance the health and safety of our sport."
Under Dr. Theodore's leadership, he and other experts who volunteer their time on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee will continue to advise the NFL on medical policies, procedures and protocols, in addition to identifying and recommending medical research that impacts the health and safety of NFL players. The committee also analyzes injury data and proposes interventions, creates and supervises focused research groups with specific goals, and aims to improve public education and advocacy for enhanced sports safety.
The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee developed the NFL Game Day Concussion Diagnosis and Management Protocol in 2011, which is reviewed each year to ensure players are receiving care that reflects the most up-to-date medical consensus on the identification, diagnosis and treatment of concussions. In March, the Concussion Protocol was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), which marked the first sports league protocol of its kind to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Until June 2016, Dr. Theodore was the Volker K. H. Sonntag Endowed Chair and Chief of the Spine Section in the Division of Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked on the development of Barrow Brainbook, a statewide concussion education program in Arizona.
Dr. Theodore graduated from Cornell University and attended medical school at Georgetown University, where he graduated with honors. After completing his internship at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Dr. Theodore served as a Senior General Medical Officer with the United States Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan. After completing his neurosurgical residency and fellowship in spinal surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in 2001, he served as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego, overseeing the largest neurosurgery complement in the Navy.
Dr. Theodore is actively involved in preventative medicine within neurosurgery. He is the former Medical Director and President of the ThinkFirst Foundation, a national injury prevention and educational organization focused on brain and spinal injuries.
The NFL is committed to advancing progress in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. As part of the NFL's ongoing health and safety efforts, in September 2016, Commissioner Goodell launched Play Smart. Play Safe. — a league-wide health and safety initiative. At the heart of the initiative is a pledge of $100 million in support for independent medical research and engineering advancements and a commitment to look at anything and everything to protect our players and make our game safer, including enhancements to medical protocols and improvements to how our game is taught and played. Learn more about the NFL's health and safety efforts at Play Smart, Play Safe.