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.

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.

2016 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game.

NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

2016 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.   

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.

NFL Gameday Frequency Coordinators

Keeping the lines of communication clear on gameday.

Southwest Airlines pilots’ conversations, a rehearsal for a concert by Madonna and a food concession worker’s request for more popcorn all have one thing in common: Each has interfered with the frequency that delivers a coach’s play calls to his quarterback.
(AP Photo/Scott Boehm)

(AP Photo/Scott Boehm)

Doppler radar from local TV stations and a network’s experiment with using cameras in end zone pylons have interfered with the NFL’s sideline Wi-Fi, which is needed for getting play photos to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablets on each bench.

And it all happened because too many people were trying to communicate using the same channel and frequency during an NFL game.

Preventing such interference — or clearing it up quickly — is the job of one of the NFL’s unsung heroes: the gameday frequency coordinator. These specialists track and manage hundreds of frequencies and thousands of in-stadium frequency-dependent devices. They also account for interference from sources outside of the stadium, such as TV stations and special events.

“Right now, our duty is to cram 500 MHz of users into 25 MHz of spectrum,” the NFL’s lead frequency coordinator, Karl Voss, said in a May 2014 interview with Audio Gloss, a blog published by RF Venue, an audio technology company. “Everybody seems to think that [radio frequency] is their God-given right. And essentially the job of the coordinator is to make sense of that — to try and give as many people tools that they need to do their job within reason.”

Quarterbacks, defensive play-callers, coaches and game officials all depend on coordinators to ensure that their systems are interference-free. So do TV and radio broadcasters and reporters, medical and security personnel, staff who use the NFL’s instant replay and injury video review systems, concession operators, cleaners, halftime entertainers and many more.

Coordinators start preparing well before the game, collecting requests from users for a designated spot on the spectrum, entering them into a database or spreadsheet and assigning frequencies. They don’t all get what they ask for — media requests alone can be voluminous — so coordinators must prioritize and, if necessary, cajole users into cooperating to make maximum use of what’s available.

Demands have gotten so high, Voss told RF Venue, that coordinators now are forced to do “time division” — assigning the same frequency to multiple users for use at specific times. They also might provide two users the same frequency at the same time, but with the usage restricted to physically separated zones to avoid interference.

On gameday, Voss said, everyone assigned a frequency enters the stadium at the same gate, where coordinators or assistants check that all devices are on their assigned frequencies. Devices are tagged to identify where and when they can be used.

Before the game, coordinators usually scan the most critical frequencies, check in with news crews to root out unregistered devices such as wireless microphones and introduce themselves to key league, team and broadcast personnel. By kickoff, they settle into a reserved seat with an unobstructed view of the field, an Internet connection, a telephone and enough countertop space to accommodate their equipment, which includes a frequency counter and a scanner/receiver.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stays connected to his team thanks to the NFL's gameday frequency coordinators. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stays connected to his team thanks to the NFL's gameday frequency coordinators. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

When problems arise during a game, coordinators or their assistants identify the source with spectrum analyzers and direction-finding equipment. They have become more proactive, using the equipment to spot and correct potential frequency conflicts before problems arise, said Michelle McKenna-Doyle, the NFL’s chief information officer.

On the field, the NFL has a fail-safe for its coach-to-player communications: a backup frequency for each team, which can be used during the game with NFL Football Operations approval. If a coach’s belt pack is affected by interference, sideline technicians maintain coach-to-coach communications by connecting the pack to a 100-foot cable for a wired connection.

When gameday coordinators identify the source of a frequency interference problem, they don’t mess around.

Most issues can be resolved without conflict; that is the desire of coordinators, who try to reason with the unregistered users they refer to as “Coord-Nots.” But the NFL’s Game Operations Manual specifies that if someone is using an uncoordinated device, the coordinator will determine if a frequency can be assigned to it. If not, the user will have to use a hard wire — “or be directed to the club’s wireless coordination contact to have his/her credential removed, denying him/her access to the stadium.” The NFL even maintains a database of repeat offenders who are at risk of losing their privileges for a longer term.

The integrity of the game and the seamlessness of the event depend on it.

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