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/NFLPA's schedule of infractions and fines, and a process for appeal.

NFL Careers in Football Forum

The NFL strives to cultivate a qualified and diverse workforce.

Economic & Social Impact

Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.

The NFL and HBCUs

The NFL is proud of the HBCU professional football legacy.

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.   

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.

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.

The Houston Texans visit the New England Patriots in a Week 1 matchup.

The Houston Texans visit the New England Patriots in a Week 1 matchup.

The NFL announced its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2018, which kicks off Thursday, Sept. 6 in Philadelphia and ends Sunday, Dec. 30 with all teams in action in 16 division games.

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 6 (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

Week 1, a FOX national weekend on Sunday, Sept. 9, features the Dallas Cowboys at the Carolina Panthers (4:25 PM ET) and the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Denver Broncos (4:25 PM ET). Week 1 CBS matchups include the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots (1 PM ET) and the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (4:05 PM ET). Week 2, the first CBS doubleheader weekend, showcases the Oakland Raiders at the Broncos (4:25 PM ET) and the Patriots visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars (4:25 PM ET).

NBC’s Sunday Night Football starts Sept. 9 when the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears (8:20 PM ET) at Lambeau Field in the 195th regular-season meeting between the storied franchises.

Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, Sept. 10 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Detroit Lions host the New York Jets (7:10 PM ET) in the first game, and the Los Angeles Rams visit the Raiders in the nightcap (10:20 PM ET).

ESPN will televise one Monday night game in Weeks 2-16. There is no Monday night game on Week 17 to provide more flexibility for scheduling the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

PRIMETIME GAMES ALL KICK OFF EARLIER THIS SEASON

In Week 4 when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Los Angeles Rams, the Thursday night game will kick off at 8:20 PM ET. All 2018 primetime games will kick off earlier.  

In Week 4 when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Los Angeles Rams, the Thursday night game will kick off at 8:20 PM ET. All 2018 primetime games will kick off earlier.  

Thursday night games kick off at 8:20 PM ET, five minutes earlier that last season’s 8:25 starts, Sunday night games start at 8:20 PM ET, up from 8:30 PM, and Monday night games at 8:15 PM ET, 15 minutes earlier than the 8:30 PM starts in 2017. All 32 clubs are scheduled for at least one Thursday, Sunday or Monday night game.

FOX’s Thursday Night Football package begins in Week 4, with a showdown of NFC playoff teams, as the Minnesota Vikings visit the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN). FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 — except for Thanksgiving night — with those games being simulcast on NFL Network and in Spanish on FOX Deportes. NFL Network will exclusively air seven games this season, with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.

Select games will be “cross-flexed” between CBS and FOX to bring under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those games are scheduled, while other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season ends on Sunday, Dec. 30, when, for the ninth straight year, all 16 Week 17 games scheduled are division contests with the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

OTHER SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS

The Jacksonville Jaguars host the New England Patriots in Week 2; one of nine 2017 post season rematches in 2018.  

The Jacksonville Jaguars host the New England Patriots in Week 2; one of nine 2017 post season rematches in 2018.  

Nine 2018 regular season games are rematches from the 2017 postseason. In Week 2, Jacksonville hosts New England in an AFC Championship Game rematch (4:25 PM ET, CBS), and Minnesota travels to Philadelphia in a Week 5 rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship Game (4:25 PM ET, FOX).

Thanksgiving features three divisional matchups on Thursday, Nov. 22 for only the second time since 1970 (2014). The day starts when the Bears visit Detroit (12:30 PM ET, CBS), the Washington Redskins visit the Cowboys in the late afternoon game (4:30 PM ET, FOX), and an NFC South showdown end the action as the Falcons travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on NBC (8:20 PM ET).

The NFL’s four international games includes three in London — one each in Weeks 6, 7 and 8 — and another in Mexico City. English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium hosts the first game of the 2018 London Series in Week 6 on Sunday, Oct. 14, as the Raiders host the Seahawks (1 PM ET, FOX). The next week, the NFL returns to Wembley Stadium as the Chargers host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 21 (9:30 AM ET, CBS). The series concludes Week 8 when the Jaguars host the Eagles at Wembley on Sunday, Oct. 28 (9:30 AM ET, NFLN).

For the third consecutive season, the NFL returns to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. On Monday, Nov. 19, the Rams host the Chiefs on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).

Each of the NFL’s 32 teams play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12. “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17, while no more than two games during Weeks 5-10 may be flexed.

In Weeks 5-16, games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC can be replaced by Sunday afternoon games, with the tentatively scheduled night game moving to an earlier start. Flexible scheduling moves will be announced at least 12 days before the game.

There is flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 as well. In Week 15, two games will be played on Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at the Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with the game times of 4:30 PM ET and 8:20 PM ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday: Baltimore at the Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis or Washington at Tennessee. Start times and matchups for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than after Week 8, The games not played on Saturday will be played on Sunday.

The Week 17 Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days before Dec. 30. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots, and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.

Flexible scheduling does not apply to Thursday or Monday night games.

The playoffs, with four division winners and two wild cards from each conference, begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6. The two division winners with the best records in each conference earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top division champions in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12-13. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, Jan. 20, with the winners meeting two weeks later in Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (CBS) on Sunday, Feb. 3.

The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets, and all postseason games are televised nationally.

Westwood One broadcasts on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

Visit NFL.com for ticket information.

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