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.

Team Rice co-captains Jerry Rice and Eric Davis and Team Irvin co-captains Michael Irvin Darren Woodson before the coin toss to determine draft order for the NFL football Pro Bowl, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Kahuku, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Team Rice co-captains Jerry Rice and Eric Davis and Team Irvin co-captains Michael Irvin Darren Woodson before the coin toss to determine draft order for the NFL football Pro Bowl, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Kahuku, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

The 2016 Pro Bowl Draft Show presented by USAA will be nationally televised on Wednesday, January 27 on ESPN2 at 7:30 PM ET.

All 88 Pro Bowl players are expected to attend the live show, which will be held at the Army’s historic Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii.

The initial selections for the 2016 Pro Bowl were made on Tuesday by the NFL Legend team captains, Pro Football Hall of Famers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice. Five-time Pro Bowler Darren Woodson (Team Irvin) and two-time Pro Bowler Eric Davis (Team Rice), who are serving as defensive co-captains, assisted Irvin and Rice in the selection process.

Rice won a coin toss at Tuesday’s press conference and elected to choose New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the active player captains, to help determine the roster as the first members of Team Rice.

Irvin was assigned Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, the other players designated as active player captains. Irvin was also awarded the first selection in Tuesday’s pre-selection and Wednesday’s draft because Rice picked the active captain pairing.

The 34 players (17 per team) who were drafted yesterday from certain position groups — tackles, guards, centers, interior defensive linemen, inside/middle linebackers, fullbacks, punters, kickers, return specialists and special teamers — will all be revealed for the first time during the live show on ESPN2.

The remaining players will be drafted tonight during ESPN2’s live telecast, which will also include taped elements from the previous day’s pre-selection process.

The 2016 Pro Bowl presented by USAA will be played on Sunday, January 31 and televised live on ESPN at 7:00 PM ET from Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.


Front Office Structure

  • NFL Legend Captain (Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice)
    • Legend captain has final say in the draft
  • NFL Legend Defensive Co-Captain (Eric Davis and Darren Woodson)

Active Player Captains

  • The top two offensive vote getters and the top two defensive vote getters will be appointed as captains
  • Captain groups will be:
    • Top offensive vote getter and second-highest defensive vote getter.
    • Top defensive vote getter and second-highest offensive vote getter.

Coin Toss

  • Determines who owns the first draft choice during Tuesday’s pre-selection and Wednesday’s draft and how the alumni captains will be paired with active player captains.
  • The winner chooses between the captain group or first pick in the Tuesday pre-selection and the Wednesday draft.
  • The winner of the coin toss will choose between the captain group or first pick in the Wednesday draft.
    • If the winner of the coin flip chooses a captain group, the loser will be assigned the other captain group.
    • If the winner of the coin flip chooses first pick in the Wednesday draft, the loser will pick a captain group.
    • The loser of the coin toss will have the first pick in the Tuesday draft.

Team Rosters

Offense: Each Pro Bowl team must have 21 players on Offense in the following positions:

  • Four (4) Wide Receivers
  • Three (3) Tackles
  • Three (3) Guards
  • Two (2) Centers
  • Two (2) Tight Ends
  • Three (3) Quarterbacks
  • Three (3) Running Backs
  • One (1) Fullback

Defense: Each Pro Bowl team must have 18 players on Defense in the following positions:

  • Three (3) Defensive Ends
  • Three (3) Interior Linemen
  • Three (3) Outside Linebackers
  • Two (2) Inside/Middle Linebackers
  • Four (4) Cornerbacks
  • Three (3) Safeties

Special Teams: Each Pro Bowl team must have five (5) players on Special Teams in the following positions:

  • One (1) Punter
  • One (1) Placekicker
  • One (1) Special Teamer
  • One (1) Returner
  • One (1) “Need” Player selected by coach (e.g., long snapper)

Draft Eligible Players

  • There are 88 players that participate in the Pro Bowl
  • 82 of these 88 players are draft eligible
    • Four (4) of the 88 players will be Captains as described above
    • Two (2) of the 88 players are chosen by coaches because they are “need” players and therefore not drafted.
  • A maximum of 64 players will be drafted
  • A minimum of 18 players will be assigned (at least one per position)
    • Once a team fills its roster limit for a position, the opposing team is assigned the remaining players at that position.
    • Assignments do not require the use of a draft choice. For example, if Team Rice has only picked two WRs when Team Irvin selects its fourth WR, the remaining two WRs will be assigned to Team Rice and Team Rice will have the next pick in the draft


  • 34 players – 17 per team – are drafted or assigned from the following position groups
    • Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald (both Interior Linemen) will be chosen before the pre-draft selection as Captains
    • Three (3) Tackles
    • Three (3) Guards
    • Two (2) Centers
    • Three (3) Interior Linemen
    • Two (2) Inside/Middle Linebackers
    • One (1) Fullback
    • One (1) Punter
    • One (1) Placekicker
    • One (1) Returner
    • One (1) Special Teamer (e.g., coverage player)
  • Picks are in alternating order
  • There will be a minimum of 10 players assigned
  • There will be a maximum of 24 actual selections
  • After Tuesday, each team will have 19 players (38 total players)
    • 17 drafted/assigned during Tuesday’s draft
    • 1 “need player”
    • 2 Captains


  • Players selected/assigned during the pre-selection draft will be recognized at the outset of the show
  • The remaining players are drafted in a two-hour live show on ESPN2 on Wednesday January 27, 2016 at 7:30 PM ET.
    • No set clock will be used
    • Alternating Order
  • 48 players, 24 per team, will be drafted or assigned from the following position groups:
    • Odell Beckham, Jr. and Devonta Freeman will have been already assigned on Tuesday with the captain groups
    • Four (4) Wide Receivers
    • Two (2) Tight Ends
    • Three (3) Quarterbacks
    • Three (3) Running Backs
    • Three (3) Outside Linebackers
    • Four (4) Cornerbacks
    • Three (3) Safeties
    • Three (3) Defensive Ends
  • There will be a minimum of eight (8) players assigned.
  • There will be a maximum of 40 players drafted.
  • At the conclusion of the draft, the team that chooses second will draft the coaching staff (and need player assigned to that coaching staff).