Football GM Manual

Football GM is a completely free sports management simulation game. You are the general manager of a football team, tasked with building your roster to compete for a championship while managing your finances. As of now, your goal can be whatever you want: winning the most championships, making the most profit, developing players from rookies to stars, etc. You can make an unlimited number of different leagues from the dashboard, each one with a different set of random players.

User Interface

From within a league, the most important user interface element is the Play Menu, which you can access with the big green Play button at the top of the screen. Any context-dependent action, like playing a game or moving from one phase to another, is done from the Play Menu. Everything else about the user interface should (hopefully) be self-explanatory.

Gameplay Overview

Each season of the game is divided into several phases:

League Rules

League rules are generally similar to the NFL, but simplified.

You can customize many of the league rules by going to Tools > God Mode within a league.

Salary cap

The salary cap is $200 million. This is a hard cap, meaning that if you are over the salary cap, you cannot sign any more players. However, to make it so you don't get yourself stuck without a full roster, you are always allowed to sign free agents to minimum contracts ($500k)

There is also a minimum salary limit of $150 million. If you are below this limit, then you have to pay a penalty equal to the difference between your payroll and the limit.


The maximum contract amount is $30 million per year and the maximum contract length is 5 years.

The minimum contract amount is $500 thousand per year and the minimum contract length is 1 year (or, until the end of the season, if the season is already in progress).

When a contract expires, you have the opportunity to negotiate a new contract with the player. If you don't come to an agreement, the player becomes a free agent.

Rookie contracts are not guaranteed until the regular season starts. That means if you release them (from the Roster page) before the regular season, you don't have to pay their contract. For all other players, contracts are fully guaranteed, and a contract still counts against your budget and your salary cap even after releasing a player.

Each player has a combination of "mood traits" that influences how he views your team. This influences contract negotiation, both the probability that a player will negotiate with you, and the amount of money he asks for.

Player Ratings

Player ratings are grouped into several different categories: physical, passing, rushing/receiving, blocking, defense, and kicking. Depending on a player's position, different ratings are more or less important.

Ratings are on a scale from 0-100. The whole scale is used, so a typical value for a rating is 50. Roughly, the overall ("ovr") player rating means:

However, the overall ratings aren't a guarantee of performance. The particular mix of ratings plays into success, as do a player's teammates.

Each player also has a potential ("pot") rating. In FBGM potential doesn't actually do anything to influence player development, it's just an estimate from your scouts about how good a player's overall rating might become. Player development/progs are based on the player's current ratings, age, and your coaching rank. Potential is calculated by simulating career arcs for a player and picking the 75th percentile ovr, so on average a player should exceed his pot 25% of the time. Just like in real life, most players never reach their potential, but some do reach it and some even exceed it.

Also, you might notice that the height ("hgt") rating is not always proportional to the height in feet/inches of a player, because the hgt rating also includes wingspan and standing reach - basically how much a player's height/length impacts the game. The hgt rating is what's used in the simulations. The heights in feet/inches are just for show.

The displayed ratings are not the real ratings. They are estimates from your scouts. Increase the scouting budget to see more accurate ratings. This is a gradual effect over 3 seasons; you don't instantly see more accurate ratings by increasing spending.

Finally, little symbols you see next to a player's name like PaPdPsAXHBpBrPRRSL represent the key skills a player has. This is designed so that you can just glance at a player and easily take in that information. It has no impact on gameplay. A player who barely misses getting a skill symbol will be about the same as a player who barely gets it.

To see what a symbol means, hover your mouse over it or consult this list:

Depth Chart

Go to Team > Depth Chart to see select which players to start at every position. You can do crazy things if you want, like starting 5 kickers as your offensive line. Just don't expect that to go well! You can also auto-sort your depth chart, which is the default setting.

Some extremely talented players will be good enough to contribute at multiple positions. For those players, you have to decide if that's worth the fatigue and injury risk that comes along with playing multiple positions.


There is no real way to "win" at Football GM. The game never ends. Your goal may be to win as many games as possible, or to make as much money as possible, or to draft a player and win him as many championships as possible, or anything else you can think of.

Regardless of your goal, you probably want to win some games. And there are also multiple ways to do that! Think of how NFL teams are run. Tanking is a viable strategy, but risky because your draft picks might be busts. Freeing up salary cap space to sign a big free agent can work, but if your team performance suffers too much, a star might not want to sign with you. Veterans can be available for cheap, but their abilities may decline rapidly. Ultimately, it's up to you to find the best strategy to meet your goals!

Custom Rosters

By default, all players are completely randomly generated. You might be able to find some custom rosters people have made on Reddit. You can also make your own: click here for more info about custom rosters.

Advanced League Editing in the Worker Console

You can use the JavaScript console in your browser to do pretty much anything. Read this for more details.


Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.


If you run into a problem, please see the debugging instructions for more info.

Still not sure about something?

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