Red Zone

What is the red zone in football?

Area between the 20-yard line and the goal line

In football, the "red zone" is the area on the field between the opponent's 20-yard line and the goal line. It is the zone where the offense has the best chance to score a touchdown or field goal (it is not actually a red zone on the playing field).

Analysts and fans typically use the term when discussing an offense's proficiency to score when close to the opponent's end zone. For example, an NFL analyst may remark, "The Bears are terrible at finishing drives this season. They've settled for a field goal 90% of their red zone trips."

Origin of red zone

The earliest use of the "red zone" term dates back to the late 1970s, but many attribute NFL coach Joe Gibbs with popularizing it in the 1980s. The name comes from the red color representing danger for the defense as the offense gets closer to scoring.

The NFL Network also released a channel called "RedZone" that airs on Sundays to highlight teams entering the red zone in their respective games. By switching to games where the offense is close to scoring, viewers can watch the team's best chances for scoring.


The Chiefs have been so good in the red zone the past 5 games
Yeah, it's easy when you have Mahomes as your QB

Scoring a TD in the red zone

Related Slang


Updated December 12, 2023

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