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'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 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.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen are the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.

The winner will be announced in Houston at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

"Larry, Eli and Greg are not only top-tier athletes, but also men of great character, integrity and generosity of spirit. Their passion for community and helping others is having a positive impact on countless individuals and communities, and it's something we should all celebrate" said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We commend these impressive men for setting the standard for NFL players and athletes nationwide."

A total of $1 million will be donated in the name of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets. The two runners-up will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a $125,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook. The other 29 team finalists received a $50,000 donation to both a charity of their choice and to expand Character Playbook. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year finalists and overall winner are selected by an elite panel of individuals comprised of:

  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
  • 2015 Man of the Year Anquan Boldin
  • USA Today writer Christine Brennan
  • NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility Anna Isaacson
  • MMQB writer Peter King
  • President of the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation and wife of the late Walter Payton Connie Payton
  • 2006 Man of the Year LaDainian Tomlinson
  • Presenting sponsor Nationwide CMO Terrance Williams
  • United Way Worldwide CEO Brian Gallagher
  • One representative each from NFL broadcast partners CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC

Below is a brief overview on the three finalists. To read their full nominations or to learn more about all 32 team nominees, visit nfl.com/manoftheyear.

Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald understands the responsibility that comes with being a professional athlete and uses his platform to give back to the community. Continuing a family legacy, Fitzgerald's charitable work keeps him grounded and in touch with his roots. He looks for ways to increase the impact of his charitable work by teaming with others in Arizona and Minnesota.

Fitzgerald's foundation, The Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund, has provided grants of more than $1 million to promote reading and technology access for students K-12 and to support efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer and support breast cancer survivors. Fitzgerald has also teamed with national and international charities to serve as a volunteer to promote vision care for children, to fit people around the world with hearing aids and to visit countries in Africa to promote economic development.

Since being drafted by the Cardinals third overall in the 2004 Draft, Larry Fitzgerald has been a leader on and off the field. Since 2004, Fitzgerald leads the NFL in receptions (1,125) and receiving yards (14,389) and has 104 career touchdowns. 

Eli Manning - New York Giants

A father of three daughters, Eli Manning is a fervent champion for causes involving children. He has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past seven years, helping raise over $25 million since. Manning also spearheads "Tackle Kids' Cancer," an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center. Prior to kicking off an extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this cause, Manning spent time with patients and doctors at the hospital's pediatric cancer center, learning more about the greatest needs in cancer research.

Dismayed by the existence of only one children's hospital in Mississippi, Manning and his wife founded the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics in 2007, kicking off a five-year fundraising campaign that raised close to $3 million. Building on that accomplishment and model, they also established the University of Mississippi Medical Center Manning Family Fund, which raised nearly $1.5 million in its first year.

A two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Super Bowl MVP, former No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning has spent the entirety of his 13-year NFL career at the helm of the New York Giants. He holds numerous team records, including passing touchdowns, pass completions and passing yards, and also currently has 199 consecutive regular-season starts, most among active players.

Greg Olsen - Carolina Panthers

In 2009, after watching his mother tackle and survive breast cancer, Olsen founded Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation. Greg's mission through the foundation is to ensure that everyone has a "second chance at life," like his mother. The foundation's Receiving Hope program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming. The program has distributed over $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations since 2009,

In early 2013, Olsen and his wife Kara founded the HEARTest Yard Fund after a routine examination of their unborn son, T.J., revealed the infant had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital defect marked by an underdeveloped left ventricle and aorta. The HEARTest Yard Fund is a family service program administered in conjunction with Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. Since its inception, the fund has distributed nearly $1.25 million to support families' of babies affected by congenital heart disease.

On the field, Greg Olsen is one of the Carolina Panthers' best receivers. A four-time team captain and three-time Pro Bowler, Olsen ranks in the top 10 all-time among NFL tight ends in receptions (622) and receiving yards (7,365) and is approaching the top 10 in receiving touchdowns (52).

Below is the list of previous Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award winners. Of the 47 award recipients, 24 players are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame inductees are indicated with asterisks:

YEAR WINNER TEAM
2015 Anquan Boldin San Francisco 49ers
2014 Thomas Davis Carolina Panthers
2013 Charles Tillman Chicago Bears
2012 Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys
2011 Matt Birk Baltimore Ravens
2010 Madieu Williams Minnesota Vikings
2009 Brian Waters Kansas City Chiefs
2008 Kurt Warner Arizona Cardinals
2007 Jason Taylor Miami Dolphins
2006 LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
2005 Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts
2004 Warrick Dunn Atlanta Falcons
2003 Will Shields* Kansas City Chiefs
2002 Troy Vincent Philadelphia Eagles
2001 Jerome Bettis* Pittsburgh Steelers
2000 Derrick Brooks* Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jim Flanigan Green Bay Packers
1999 Cris Carter* Minnesota Vikings
1998 Dan Marino* Miami Dolphins
1997 Troy Aikman* Dallas Cowboys
1996 Darrell Green* Washington Redskins
1995 Boomer Esiason New York Jets
1994 Junior Seau* San Diego Chargers
1993 Derrick Thomas* Kansas City Chiefs
1992 John Elway* Denver Broncos
1991 Anthony Muñoz* Cincinnati Bengals
1990 Mike Singletary* Chicago Bears
1989 Warren Moon* Houston Oilers
1988 Steven Largent* Seattle Seahawks
1987 Dave Duerson Chicago Bears
1986 Reggie Williams Cincinnati Bengals
1985 Dwight Stephenson* Miami Dolphins
1984 Marty Lyons New York Jets
1983 Rolf Benirschke San Diego Chargers
1982 Joe Theismann Washington Redskins
1981 Lynn Swann* Pittsburgh Steelers
1980 Harold Carmichael Philadelphia Eagles
1979 Joe Greene* Pittsburgh Steelers
1978 Roger Staubach* Dallas Cowboys
1977 Walter Payton* Chicago Bears
1976 Franco Harris* Pittsburgh Steelers
1975 Ken Anderson Cincinnati Bengals
1974 George Blanda* Oakland Raiders
1973 Len Dawson* Kansas City Chiefs
1972 Willie Lanier* Kansas City Chiefs
1971 John Hadl San Diego Chargers
1970 Johnny Unitas* Baltimore Colts
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