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.

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.