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. 

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 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.

Via NFL Player Health & Safety.

This summer, Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti, NFL Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services, and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis sat down as part of a special event hosted by the American Psychological Association to discuss how physical and psychological strength are key to navigating the emotional toll of COVID-19 and racism.

The event, titled “The Perfect Storm for BIPOC: The Emotional Toll of Racism and COVID-19”, addressed the stigma of mental health, the connection between mental health and physical performance, and the unique challenges of staying mentally healthy through times of crisis.

Dr. NiiLampti and Davis shared insights through the lens of their unique experiences – as a psychologist spearheading the NFL’s Wellness and Clinical Services program and as a professional athlete who advocates for the importance of mental wellness.

 

Watch their conversation above. Excerpts are below.


On the importance of mental health, particularly during periods of high stress

Demario Davis: I’m a tank-filling guy, so I like to fill up my tanks. I need a full tank spiritually. I need a full tank mentally. I need a full tank physically. When my tank is full, I’m ready to take on that adversity.

When something like COVID-19 hits [it’s important to] have normalized creating psychological strength. The people who are processing this the right way are those who have put in the time to understand their mind, so that [they] can compartmentalize, prioritize and organize [their] thoughts and …process this in a manner that is ultimately healthy.

Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti: Physical health and mental health are inextricably linked, and you’ll notice that players who are able to play this game at a high level for a long time have figured out that they need to be intentional in making sure that they’re taking care of all aspects of themselves – that includes their mental health.

Demario Davis: I would encourage everyone to look toward someone they trust, to go to a mental health professional to keep your mind in a growth state. Think about it as quality of life and strengthening.

 

On the interconnectedness of mental health and strength and athletic performance

Demario Davis: This mental part is so key for optimal performance because when we think about the buckets underneath the psychological part, you have the mental, the emotional, and the social… When we think about being the best person or putting the best product on the field, that’s a huge competitive advantage. In a game where everybody’s trying to get an inch and you’re able to go bounds and miles, it’s revolutionary.

It gives me a competitive advantage on the field, but it gives every human being the competitive advantages to live their life. If you don’t have the tools to know when to engage and [when] to step away, your brain will go haywire. Ultimately, what we always want to be is in a growth state. You want to be growing physically, you want to be growing mentally. The only way to do those things is to work at building them up.

Now when I do my physical training, I’m not distracted. I don’t have all these pop-ups coming up in my mind or all these doubts or worries that are limiting my training. Now I’m able to, in essence, be the optimal version of myself.

 

On the importance of seeking help from experts to improve mental health

Demario Davis: I believe in God, and I’m proud of that. My faith, and growing in my faith, is what allowed me to grow in mental wellness. I got open and was able to be transparent… I had to share some uncomfortable things. Once I got past that hurdle, I realized there was so much opportunity for me to grow. There were things going on mentally that were like a paper jam, but in the mind. I had to talk to a psychiatrist or a psychologist that could help me process those things.

All they did was give me cues. It was a dialogue with someone who was essentially training me – just like having a conversation with my strength coach. This tool will help you interact with yourself emotionally. This tool will help you interact with your teammates and have conflict resolution. This will help you create boundaries. Those tools are what help you get from where you are to where you want to go.

Sometimes I’m really struggling with depression and someone will say, “just pray about it,” but it’s not that simple. Your brain is trapped underneath some bricks. There are people who are experts in helping you get those bricks off.

 

On improving mental health literacy, particularly for communities of color

Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti: I think part of it is starting with conversations. And that starts with something as simple as how we have conversations about how we’re doing. Also, when we think about numbers, what’s the percentage of African Americans who are psychologists? That’s another piece when we think about teaching young people, particularly in communities of color, around mental health and the folks who are providing mental care don’t look like them.

Demario Davis: With all of this going on in the country, let’s look at what type of access is offered to the Black community for mental health. Especially about how we look at the criminal justice system and how we are criminalizing stuff that could be dealt with in the mental health space, and how that could actually make our country better. All of us need to be thinking that we can grow a lot by adding [mental health] to our life.

 

On breaking the stigma associated with mental health and improving lives

Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti: There is a tendency when we talk about mental health to equate that with mental illness. We use those two terms synonymously too often, and that shuts the door for engaging with people on conversations around strengthening mental health. We all have mental health – the question becomes how do we build positive mental health? If the idea is, “I want to perform at my optimal,” then pretending [mental health] doesn’t exist costs us.

Demario Davis: Most people don’t go deeper with their mind because they’re afraid of what’s in there. I remember my team psychologist with the Jets told me, “you’re the only one who comes in here.” I just didn’t have that fear. Once you try it and realize, “oh this is not what I thought it was,” you can get past the myths. Mental health has a stigma – if you talk to somebody about mental health, there’s something wrong with you – but once you get past that stigma and realize it’s a good thing, then I think you can grow.

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