FAQ: rec.sport.football.pro
Last Updated 04/01/2002

Newsgroups: rec.sport.football.pro
Subject: rec.sport.football.pro Frequently Asked Questions
From: jtroan@jt-swcom
Followup-To: rec.sport.football.pro
Archive-name: http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-faq
Posting-frequency: bi-monthly (1st and 15th of each month)

   This FAQ is archived as:
   and in hypertext format as:
Originated by Adriene L. Nazaretian

All entries in this FAQ have been submitted by RSFP readers. This FAQ will be posted the first and fifteenth day of each month. The version of each posting will be represented by the "Last Updated" date just under the FAQ's heading.

Please send me mail if you have a correction or addition.

This FAQ is not intended to replace the NFL rules book. Some information listed here may not be complete. The information is only as accurate as the sources, some of which are listed.

An * in the index means the area is incomplete -- 'netters please contribute whenever possible.


0. Misc NFL Yearly Information

1. Where to Get additional information

2. Playoffs

3. Stadium Information

4. Numbers, Stats, Ratings....

5. NFL Draft Notes

6. NFL Broadcast Information

7. Hall of Fame Enshrinees

8. Pro Bowl Selections

9. Terminology/special references

  • 9.1 IMHO/IMO
  • 9.2 BTW
  • 9.3 SB
  • 9.4 Ob
  • 9.5 FYI
  • 9.6 :-)
  • 9.7 HFA
  • 9.8 FA
  • 9.9 RFA/UFA
  • 9.10 FP
  • 9.12 Lose/Loose

10. Fandom, Pools and Other Related Information

0. Misc Yearly NFL Information

0.1 NFL Yearly Rules Changes

Recent NFL Rules changes are at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-rules.

0.2 Important Dates

The 2002 timeline can be found at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/2002-timeline.

1. Where to Get additional information

1.1 Is there a newspaper devoted to my favorite team?

From one of the '97 Pre-season magazines:

       Bal -- Ravens Report
       Buf -- Buffalo Bills Shout!            800-93-BILLS
       Car -- Panthers Insider                800-637-2583
       Chi -- Bear Report                     800-728-6501
       Cin -- Bengals Report                  513-941-9021
       Cle -- Browns News/Illustrated         713-261-6077
       Dal -- Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly  972-556-9972
       Det -- Lions Report
              Lions Roar!                     800-240-0313
       GB  -- Packer Insider                  414-733-1545
              Packer Plus                     800-846-PACK
              Packer Report                   800-728-6501
       Ind -- Hoof Beats
       Jac -- Jaguars Inside Report
       KC  -- Chiefs Report                   800-578-2624
       Mia -- Dolphins Digest                 800-334-4005
       Min -- Viking Update                   800-256-7110
       NE  -- Patriots Football Weekly
       NO  -- Saints Digest                   800-334-4005
       NYG -- The Giants Newsweekly           800-562-2198
       NYJ -- Jets Confidential               800-932-4557
       Oak -- Silver & Black Illustrated      888-6-RAIDER
       Phi -- Eagles Digest                   800-334-4005
       Pit -- Steelers Digest                 800-334-4005
       SD  -- Chargers Football Weekly        619-584-2976
       SF  -- 49ers Report                    281-261-6077
       Sea -- Inside the Seahawks             206-781-3291
       StL -- Rams Update                     800-578-2624
       TB  -- The Buccaneer Magazine          800-881-BUCS
       Was -- Wash. Pro Football Illustrated

Some can be ordered through the Professional Football Publication Association at 800-310-7047 or through www.nflpublications.com.

1.2 Is there a mailing list for my favorite team?

Go to http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/teams/www.html for the information on web pages, mailing lists, newsgroups, etc.

1.3 Is there an archive of NFL stats?


The web interface to the football information now at JT-SW.com. It contains (or will contain) stats & box scores, fantasy football stuff, draft/free agency notes, and whatever else can be located or is sent in.

The maintainer is John Troan (jtroan@jt-sw.com).

(This was the site housed at Vnet (users.vnet.net/troan/football) and has been moved to a new permanent home.)

1.4 Where do I get an official NFL Rules book.

Call or FAX the NFL offices and request one. See section 1.5 below for phone numbers.

1.5 NFL Offices

Phone Numbers for the NFL Offices:
  • (212) 421-3774
  • (212) 758-1500
  • (212) 872-5200
FAX Numbers:
  • (216) 826-3454
  • (216) 758-1742

The FAX should ask for any information about the NFL teams that you want, including addresses.

Publications available upon request. example: THE NFL AND YOU

1.5.1 Team Addresses

Mailing addresses for the teams are available at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-addresses.

1.6 Getting Scores

Stats mailing list: Send mail to nfl-stats-subscribe@list.vnet.net.

After a brief automated confirmation process, you'll receieve a "Welcome to List" message when you've been added.

1.7 NFL Merchandise

To access the store on-line, go to http://nflshop.com.

1.8 NFL Films

To obtain a catalog write to:
      NFL Films
      330 Fellowship Road
      Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
      (609) 778-1600

You can also reach NFL Films at http://nfl.com/multimedia.

2. Playoff Structure

This will hold true through the 2001 post season. Once the official advancement paths are determined, they'll be added to the FAQ.

In each conference (AFC and NFC), the three division winners are seeded 1-2-3 with tie-breakers applied as needed. The best two division winners get a bye-week into the Divisional Playoffs.

The best three of the remaining teams in each conference get the wild card slots for the conference and are seeded 4-5-6 with tie-breakers applied as needed.

2.1 Conference Playoffs (Same for both conferences)

   Wild Card Playoffs
                     Divisional Playoffs
                                        Conf Championship
     Wild Card#1   \
                    >   _____________ \
     Wild Card#2   /                   \   ________ \
                                       /             \
                    Div Winner 1 or 2 /               \
                                                       > _____________
     Wild Card #3  \                                  /  Conf Champion
                    >   _____________ \              /
     Div Winner #3 /                   \   ________ /
                    Div Winner 1 or 2 /

NOTE: The highest seed playing each week always plays the lowest seed playing that week.

Conference Champions play each other in the SUPERBOWL!

2.2 Tie Breaker Rules

  • Tie -- counts as half a win and half a loss.
  • Common Games -- the teams that all of the tied teams have played. This is based on winning percentage since there will probably a different number of games against the common opponent opponents.
Wild Card ties

If necessary to break ties to determine the three wildcard teams from each conf. and the site of a first-round playoff game, the following steps will be taken:

  1. Apply division tiebreaker to eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to a step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tiebreaker remains the same for all subsequest applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the three Wild Card applicants.
  2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, use the following steps.
  1. Head to head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Best average net points in conference games.
  5. Best net points in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule.
  7. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  8. Coin toss.
  1. Head-to-head sweep (applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others, or if one club has lost to each of the others).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Best average net points in conference games.
  5. Best net points in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule.
  7. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  8. Coin toss.

NOTE: If two teams remain tied after a third or additional teams are eliminated, the tiebreaker reverts to step 1 of the applicable two-club format. When the first wildcard team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second wild card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2, and repeated a third time, if necessary, to identify the third wild card. in situations where three or more teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tiebreaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a wildcard.

Division ties

If two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical best won-lost-tie percentage, the following steps will determine a champion. The same steps are used to determine sites of postseason games.


  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, if applicable. (Changed March 2002)
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games within the conference.
  5. Best net points in division games.
  6. Best net points in all games.
  7. Strength of schedule.
  8. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  9. Coin toss.
  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tie percentage in games within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tie percentage in common games. (Changed March 2002)
  4. Best won-lost-tie percentage in games within the conference.
  5. Best net points in division games.
  6. Best net points in all games.
  7. Strength of schedule.
  8. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  9. Coin toss.

NOTE: If one team wins a multiple-team tiebreaker to advance to playoff round, remaining teams revert to step 1 of applicable two-club format, i.e., either in division tiebreaker or wild-card tiebreaker. If two teams in a mutiple-tie possess superior marks in a tiebreaking step, this pair of teams advance to the top of the applicable two-club format to break the tie. One team advances to playoff round, while other returns to original group and step 1 of applicable tiebreaker.

2.3 SuperBowl Winners History

The web page is at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-superbowl.

3. Stadium Information

Web page at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-stadiums.

4. Numbers, Stats, Ratings....

4.1 QB Rating

             +-                                                    -+
             | (COMP% - 30)     (GAIN - 3)     TD%     (9.5 - INT%) |
             | ------------  +  ----------  +  ---  +  ------------ |
RATE = 100 * |      20              4           5           4       |
             | ---------------------------------------------------- |
             |                             6                        |
             +-                                                    -+

Where COMP% = Completion percentage (divide by number of attempts)
      GAIN  = Average gain (per attempt)
      TD%   = Percent touchdowns (divide by number of attempts)
      INT%  = Percent interceptions (divide by number of attempts)

The minimum a passer can receive from any of the four categories is 0.000; the maximum a passer can receive is 2.375. Thus, the lowest possible rating is 0.0, the maximum possible is 158.3.

4.2 Jersey Numbers

The NFL's rules for player's jersey numbers can be found at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-jers-nums.

4.3 NFL Scheduling (Determining Opponents)

The formula used to determine each team's opponents the following year can be found at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-sched-opp.

4.4 Compensatory Draft Picks

Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula, developed by the NFL Management Council, based on salary and performance. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. In some cases team receive picks even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents. Under the formula, the compensatory free agents these teams lost were ranked higher than the ones they signed (based on salary and performance). No compensatory picks are higher than the third round.

Beginning in 1993, the NFL usually announces compensatory picks several weeks before the NFL draft.

4.5 RFA Compensation Formula

     Salary Tender    Compensation
     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     $   437,000      First refusal and a draft pick based on the player's original draft position
         950,000      First refusal and a first round pick
       1,268,000      First refusal and first & third round picks

5. NFL Draft Notes

5.1 First round draft picks

The list of each team's first round picks (since 1970) is at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-draft-picks.

5.2 1995 Expansion Draft

The 1995 Expansion Draft (Carolina and Jacksonville) results are at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/1995-draft-exp.

5.3 1999 Expansion Draft

The 1999 Expansion Draft (Cleveland) results are at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/1999-draft-exp.

5.4 2002 Expansion Draft

The 2002 Expansion Draft (Houston) results are at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/2002-draft-exp.

6. NFL Broadcast Information

NFL TV rules for the US:
  1. On Sundays (and Saturdays when the full Sunday slate is moved due to a Holiday), either CBS or FOX (but not both) is allowed to show a doubleheader (2 games on the same network affiliate) UNLESS a home game is being played within the TV market of the affiliate TV station. If a team from the TV market is playing on the road, then its game MUST be televised OVER-THE-AIR within the TV market. (Note: Green Bay Packers home games at Milwaukee County Stadium were considered to be played in the Milwaukee TV market rather than in the Green Bay TV market.)
  2. If a game is being played within the TV market of the affiliate TV station, then each affiliate is only allowed to televise ONLY one game (this rule applies even if the game is being played at night since a third over-the-air TV station in the TV market has paid the NFL a rights fee to carry the game over-the-air to viewers without cable (ESPN) provided that the game was sold out 72 hours before kickoff).
    • In TV markets with only one home team: if the home team is playing an AFC opponent that week, then the CBS affiliate has first choice in Sunday afternoon time slots. If the home team is playing an NFC opponent that week, then the FOX affiliate has first choice in Sunday afternoon time slots. The CBS and FOX affiliates in these markets may NOT carry games in the same time slot without a special dispensation from the NFL.
    • Special rules regarding the choice of Sunday afternoon time slots by the CBS and FOX affiliates apply in the two-team TV market New York when both teams in the TV market are playing on Sunday afternoon: if one team in the TV market is playing on the road, then its game MUST be televised (Giants' road games on the FOX affiliates, Jets' road games on the CBS affiliates). As a result, the other affiliate in the TV market MUST televise a Sunday afternoon game in THE OTHER time slot UNLESS: a) the other team in the TV market is also playing a game on the road in the same time slot, or b) the other team sold out its Sunday afternoon home game at least 72 hours prior to kickoff and both teams in the market are playing games in the same time slot (this usually doesn't happen since both New York teams NEVER play games in the same afternoon time slot).
  3. If a home game is not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff, then that game may NOT be televised with a 75-mile radius of the stadium in order to comply with FEDERAL LAW (the NFL is considered interstate commerce and is subject to federal regulation since the NFL does not have an an anti-trust exemption). This law affects all TV stations whose TV markets encroach any part of the 75-mile radius even if the TV station is located outside the 75-mile radius.
  4. New for 1994: in TV markets where FOX does not have an over-the-air affiliate, FOX should be offering its games to another over-the-air TV station. If FOX has offered games to a TV station in these markets, then cable systems in these markets MUST blackout the NFL games being shown on FOXNET in order to protect the revenue of the over-the-air TV station showing the FOX games.


NFC regular season games are broadcast by FOX. Their website is www.foxsports.com.


AFC regular season games are broadcast by CBS. Their website is cbs.sportsline.com.


Play-off games are split up between FOX, CBS, and ABC. Check your local listings for air times and stations.

Typically, ABC broadcasts the first two games of the wild card playoffs (Saturday). FOX and CBS boardcast the remaining playoff games for the NFC and AFC respectively.


The Superbowl will be broadcast by ABC in 2003.

Based on the recent history of rotating coverage of the Superbowl and the number of Superbowls each network got with the current TV contracts, CBS gets 2004; FOX gets 2005; and ABC also gets 2006.


The ProBowl is broadcast by ABC. Their website is www.abcsports.com.


With ESPN International holding most of the broadcast rights outside the United States and Canada, the best place to check coverage is at http://www.international.espn.com.

7. Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees

    Pro Football Hall of Fame
    2121 George Halas Dr. N.W.
    Canton, OH 44708
    (216) 456-8207

The complete listing of the Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees is available at: http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/0-hof


8. Pro Bowl Selections

The Pro Bowl selections are made by balloting of the fans, players, and coaches of the NFL. Selections are announced in mid-December. The list of players named to the Pro Bowl for the 2001 season are at http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/2001-probowl.

9. Terminology - commonly used phrases or acronyms

  1. IMHO/IMO - In My Humble Opinion/ In My Opionion
  2. BTW - By The Way
  4. Ob - Obligatory
  5. FYI - For Your Information
  6. :-) - and other forms of it such as ;-) and :-P refer to humor
  7. HFA - Home Field Advantage
  8. FA - Free Agent
  9. RFA/UFA - Restricted Free Agent / Unrestricted Free Agent
  10. FP - Franchise Player
  11. Lose/Loose - LOSE (opposite of win)/ Loose (opposite of tight). "Loose" is frequently used in place of "Lose" for the RSFP grammatically-challenged readers.

10. Fandom and Other Related Information


Jump to http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/0-oliver-faq to view.


Information about Football Trading Cards and Collectors information can be obtained by monitoring the following newsgroups:

Last Modifed: 04/01/2002
Football Site Owner: John Troan