The National Football League took a courageous step this year when it created a new channel - NFL RedZone. The channel is an extension of NFL Network but is only active on Sundays from 1pm to 8 pm. The premise is to show every score from every game, starting from when a team enters the red zone, which is 20 yards from the end zone, for a scoring opportunity. Most of the coverage is live, which adds an element of excitement. Itís like seeing the highlights and game recap as they happens. Many of my friends who subscribe to DirecTV are jealous of RedZone because with RedZone you donít have to constantly flip channels to see different games.
Host Scott Hanson is a veteran NFL Network reporter, widely known for camping out at Brett Favreís home in Mississippi during ďFavre Watch.Ē Hanson is very energetic and keeps the commentary interesting. Iíve yet to figure out how he stays ďonĒ for seven hours straight, but, heís not over the top, so I stay tuned in. The channel often uses a split-screen effect when two teams have simultaneous red zone opportunities, so you can see what is happening at both games Ė one game at the top of the screen and the other at the bottom. Hanson does a great job guiding the viewer through each game.
I enjoy many aspects of RedZone. One great feature is the fact that the viewer has access to all the games played on Sunday (except for the Sunday Night Game on NBC). If you happen to be in a market with a team that isnít having a stellar year or a team you may not be particularly fond of, you arenít stuck with watching only one or two games at a time. As a large market resident, itís nice to see coverage of small market teams and to become familiar with good players who may not receive a lot of notoriety.
When RedZone is flipping from game to game, the viewer gets to hear opinions and commentary from a broad range of announcers, including former players who have transitioned into the booth. The former player point of view is interesting because quite often you hear inside information about team ownership and current players. Some of the lesser-known play-by-play announcers and color-commentators are pretty good too.
If youíve never tuned in to watch RedZone, you are definitely missing out. This is one of the few times I actually condone channel-flipping. If you do tune in, get your popcorn ready because it is addictive!