red zone football

The Red Zone Football – Your Ultimate Guide

Ever heard the term red zone football? You’ll often hear commentators say the ball is in the red zone. This zone is more of a danger zone as the name suggests.

So, what exactly is a red zone in football? A red zone in football is the area in the field between the goal line and the 20-yard line. This is an area where the offense has a great chance of scoring a touchdown. It is a crucial zone for the defense and the offense.

The offense enters a red zone while the defense covers a red zone. Looking to learn more?

Keep reading to learn everything about a red zone in football.

Why Is It Called the Red Zone in Football?

The color red indicates danger. The area is called a red zone to indicate the high danger the defense is facing. It’s more of a high-risk area for the defense since the offense is quite close to the goal line.

The short 20-yard distance to the goal line means the offense can easily score a touchdown. This area is quite intriguing since the defense has very little ground to protect. The name comes from the area being a danger zone.

You’ll see the defense changing formation from man-to-man defense to zone defense since they have little space to move around. The change in defense formation is ideal and can confuse the offense. 

Overall, when the ball is within 20 yards of the goal line, then it’s in the red zone. The offense has a great opportunity for a touchdown while the defense needs to work harder to push them back.

History of the Red Zone Term

John Gibbs is the first person credited with coming up with the term ‘red zone.

running into redzone football

However, there is some disagreement with others crediting the term to Dave Plati who was the head coach of the Denver Broncos in the 80s. John Gibbs was the head coach of the Washington Football Team in the 80s.

Gibbs mentioned the red zone while describing his team’s lowest scoring percentages on that part of the field. Denver had different stats of the college football team and their ability to score in the red zone.

Speaking of college football team, I think you’d be interested in knowing if can you play in the NFL without going to college?

What Is the Importance of the Red Zone

Now that you know what a red zone is, let’s see its importance for the offense and defense in the special team.

Offense in Red Zone

For the offense, the red zone is quite important as they are expected to score. The chances of a touchdown are pretty high since the offense is a few yards from the goal line.

What is needed is a few downs, and the offense has a touchdown. It’s a pretty good position for any offense to be in. However, it means little space to work your way forward, hence the need for creativity.

Defense in Red Zone

As for the defense in the red zone, it is pretty crucial that they don’t give any extra yards. This is an important zone for the defense to protect the few yards remaining and prevent the offense from scoring a touchdown.

The defense will work tirelessly and try changing formations to confuse the offense. You’ll see the offense playing more conservatively trying to avoid a touchdown. They would rather have the offense score a field goal.

How Often Do Football Teams Score in the Red Zone?

Most teams in the red zone have a 50% chance of scoring. Teams are more likely to score once they get into the red zone. While some plays starting outside the red zone can result in a touchdown, teams in a red zone score 50% of the time.

football player waving their flag

Let’s take for example the 2003 NFL season when Kansas City had the highest red zone percentages. They had a successful scoring 76% times when in the red zone.

What Team Is Best in the Red Zone?

The Buffalo Bills are one of the best teams in the red zone according to Team Rankings. The team had a high scoring percentage of over 66% in the 2021 season.

Who Has the Most Touchdowns in the Red Zone?

Antonia Brown has the most touchdowns in the red zone according to sharp football analysis. Playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonia has a great scoring percentage in the red zone among other great names like Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger.

What Is the NFL Redzone?

The NFL Redzone is the same in all leagues where the ball is 20 yards to the goal line. If you’re a great fanatic of the NFL, then you probably know the action in football is in the 20-yard zone to the goal line.

This has led to a broadcast called the NFL RedZone that focuses on the NFL matches when the ball is in the 20-yard zone. In the NFL RedZone show, you’re guaranteed to watch every touchdown of every Sunday game.

Is the Red Zone Actually Red on a Football Field?

The red zone is not actually red on the field. This is the area between the 20-yard line and the goal line.

running player

However, some teams might mark the area for fans to know when teams get into the red zone.

What Is Red Zone Efficiency?

The red zone efficiency is the scoring percentage of the offense when in the red zone. You can calculate the efficiency by the number of touchdowns a team scores while in the red zone divided by the number of times they get into the red zone.

What Is The Red Zone in Fantasy Football?

The Red Zone in Fantasy Football is the 20-yard line between the ball and the goal line.


If you see your team entering a red zone, then it’s time to keep your eyes on the play.

This is the 20-yard line to the goal line where the offense has a pretty high chance of scoring. However, on a few occasions, the defense can make incredible steps to win games.

The red zone is an important area for the offense and defense. The offense usually has 50% or more scoring.

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