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Countdown to kickoff: how NFL games happen.
In the NFL, balancing technology with tradition.
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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.”
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A look at the programs the NFL and its partners provide to help every player before, during and after his football career.
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“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.
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The NFL's procedures for breaking ties for postseason playoffs.
The NFL's familiar hand signals help fans better understand the game.
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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.
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As with everything about Super Bowl XLIX, this year’s version of the NFL’s annual showcase event, the league is leaving nothing to chance with the footballs that each team’s offense will use in the big game. These footballs are prepared as they would be for any other game, with a few additional steps to ensure that they are game time ready.
After the conference championship games end, Wilson ships 54 game footballs to each of the participating Super Bowl teams. The teams are allowed to prepare and practice with these footballs until the Friday before the Super Bowl. Each team’s quarterback can prepare the footballs to suit his preferences — as long as his preferences comply with league specifications, rules and policies.
On the Friday before the game, the league designated equipment manager (EM) collects the prepared game footballs from each team. He inspects them to make sure they are in game condition and are free of anything that would make them unfit for game action.
Any footballs that fail to meet the EM’s or the league’s standards will be removed — usually seven to 10 balls. The EM will then place the game balls in equipment bags, which will be secured and stored overnight with NFL Security.
On Saturday, the EM, NFL Security and a professional sports authentication company representative certify the game footballs with a “PSA/DNA” mark, which authenticates them as official Super Bowl XLIX game balls.
After the game balls are marked, the EM places them back in the bags and securely reseals the bags. They are then locked in a room secured by NFL Security until they are brought to the stadium approximately 3 hours before the game.
At that time, the EM brings the game footballs to the officials’ locker room, where all are checked for game readiness, including proper inflation. All footballs must be inflated to between 12 ½ and 13 ½ psi (pounds per square inch). The referee will not make adjustments to the pressure of any balls that are inflated within that range.
Once the final inspection is complete, the balls are marked again, this time by the game’s referee, as ready for use in the game. The league recommends that referees mark each team’s balls with a different colored pen on the laces so that the balls are easily identified on the field.
The EM and his crew again take possession of the game footballs. Unless they are being used for an offensive play, each team’s game footballs will be in the possession of a crew member for the rest of the game.
At halftime, crew members will collect all of the game balls and take them to back to the official’s locker room, where they will be rechecked to see if they are still properly inflated. The EM will then return the re-inspected balls back to each sideline, where they will be rotated into the game in the second half as needed.