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Red Zone Football Academy


We have adopted a rankings & post season format that is similar to the FBS college football system. This means there will be a Final Four (for each gold/silver age division) of teams at the end of the season to play for a championship. The rest of the teams will be matched up in a bowl game to end the season. We have gone away from the straight W/L standings and 'everyone makes the playoffs' system.

For a deeper explanation of why these changes were made and the relevant parent/coach survey data that supports these decisions, scroll down the page to the heading 2019 RedZone League Operating Memo.

What are Gold/Silver breakdowns?

We're interested in seeing teams of similar talent/ability match up most often. In order to accomplish this, we'll break the teams in each age division into two groups half-way through the season. This will be done through a mixture of subjective observations and other objective data points (the player usage & core values scores will not be used for determining gold/silver groups. Once the split is made, teams will only face opponents that are also within their gold/silver group for the remainder of the regular & post season. So there will be 6 teams crowned a league champions-- 1st-2nd gold & silver, 3rd-4th gold & silver, 5th-6th gold & silver. Note: Your weeks 4-6 won't be available until Week 3 games are completed and the gold/silver breakdowns occur. These games will be posted no less than 24 hours after your Week 3 game.

How do rankings work?

Teams will receive a ranking score based on 4 different criteria. These criteria will be weighted as noted in the ranking formula:

  • Wins (33%)
  • Player Usage (25%)
  • Core Values (25%)
  • Strength of Schedule (17%)

What are Player Usage & Core Values scores?

Player Usage-- In short, the teams that are able to achieve victory by utilizing more of the players on their team will score higher than teams who just give the ball and the bulk of playing time to only their best players. We no longer have playing time rules that dictate how much every player should play. It proved to be difficult to get rules in place that were equally effective for teams with different numbers of players. Someone was always advantaged/disadvantaged in one way or another. However, we will be tracking how effectively a team uses it's players in 2 areas. 1)Touches-- How many players on the team get a least one touch or touch opportunity in the game 2) Is playing time spread somewhat evenly among all players or are key players featured and used much more than the rest of the players. 

Core Values-- These include the interactions among different parties (coaches, players, fans) involved in the game. Everybody will be held accountable for their actions. In essence, it's important to remember the big picture reasons why we're out there which is to instill the following qualities & experience in youth: respect, leadership, hard work, being a good teammate, learning how to win & lose, dealing with adversity, plus countless other situations and character traits. In addition to learning the skills & rules of the game, we want to implement these values using football as the vehicle. It would be great to win every game or take home a championship, but the opportunities to instill these values should not be sacrificed or overshadowed by a desire to win. Teams that consistently display this understanding will receive the highest marks as it pertains to a team's core values scores. 

See how these items will be scored on the GAME REPORT sheet that will be filled out for every game.

How are these scores decided?

These scores will be issued by RedZone-employed game monitors. These staff members will keep score of the game, run the clock, observe touches/playing time, and consult with the two game officials to issue the core values scores. The guidelines they will use in issuing these scores in included in the Game Report file linked above.

Will these scores be made public?

The Game Report will not be made available to the public, but your team's overall score for each game will be posted. In each game, there is a maximum of 6 points possible for each Player Usage & Core Values. We've run lots of models in an effort to weight these metrics in a way that we believe will reflect the intentions of these measures. In short, the teams that win the most games will still be near the top of the rankings. However, with only 4 scored games, there are bound to be several teams with the same record and those who score higher in the other metrics will be ranked higher. A team that wins all of their games but only features their best players and conducts themselves negatively in doing so may not qualify for the Final Four. The rankings page will look like the following:


RedZone League 2019 Operating Memo

I recently thought long and hard about, 'What are the most important elements kids should take away from their RedZone experience?' For me, it boils back to our core values— fundamental instruction, personal development, and success for all. These are important regardless of where any kid is on a football skill/experience spectrum. I feel that every decision we make should be done with those in mind. 

But I wanted to know what our parents & coaches thought was important, and I appreciate those of you who filled out end-of-season and recent surveys we sent. Some of the data I found especially important is listed down below.

I'm confident that these adjustments will lead to a youth football experience that is tightly aligned with our core values and meets the expectations our parents and coaches have of such a program.

Relevant Survey Data

Parents on what they ranked as most important to their child’s youth football experience: (there were 6 options to rank)

#1. Encountering positive role models/social environment        93.5% top 3

#2. Learning Skills & Rules of the game                                     83.7% top 3

#3. Being on a team with friends                                                  56.5% top 3

Overall, 65% of parents would rather have their child experience & learn a little bit about all positions on the field. 35% preferred for their child to get most of his playing time and develop skills at their best position(s). A closer look reveals that parents of younger parents answered ‘all positions’ most heavily, while parents of older players were split about 50/50. Coaches answered this question with similar results.

Top 3 parent answers when asked if factors other than W/L record should be considered for standings:

#1. Player Usage (48%)

#2. Sportsmanship of players, coaches, fans (45%)

#3. Strength of Schedule (40%)

only 25% answered that no other subjective factors should be considered.

Top 3 coaches answers to the previous question:

#1. Strength of Schedule (43%)

#2. Player Usage (37%)

#3. No other factors should be considered (37%)

Sportsmanship was #4 at 32%

Coaches choosing what their 2 most important objectives as coaches are:

#1. Teach about sportsmanship, leadership, respect, and how to deal with adversity  (89%)

#2. Teaching critical skills & fundamentals of the game (68%)

0% chose ‘have a winning season’