Captioning term of the month: Red zone

Steve Clark

Below is the eighth in a series of monthly featured words to help captioners build their dictionaries and knowledge. The words for this series are being provided by Steve Clark, CRC, a captioner from Washington, D.C. Clark captions for Home Team Captions and covers the Baltimore Ravens NFL team  and the Washington Nationals baseball team.

Our term this month, red zone, comes from football.  At the end of this email is a diagram showing the area on the field that is the red zone.


Red zone
(football)

Definition

In football, the area between the 20-yard line and the goal line at both ends of the field.

Usage     

“With that pass down to the 15-yard line of Colorado, Nebraska finds itself in the red zone.”

“Oregon has one of the best red zone offenses in college football.”

Origin

I have had a difficult time finding a plausible explanation for why the red zone is called the red zone, particularly why the color red was chosen. There are two prevailing thoughts that seem to make sense: One thought is that the color red denotes warning, and so when the offensive team enters the red zone, the defensive team heeds this warning and is aware that the offensive team is close to scoring. The second thought is that once the offensive team is in the red zone the chance of scoring is higher, including the chance of successfully kicking a field goal.