It’s billed as the “Greatest Day Ever.” And why wouldn’t it be, as thousands of kids step onto the artificial turf at Lucas Oil Stadium to the cheers of 6,000 friends and family?
Looking upward into the 67,000 seats, these young football and cheer teams can
imagine what it feels like to wear an Indianapolis Colts uniform on game day.
If they close their eyes, maybe they will hear the crowd’s thunderous applause.
These are the Red Zone Games, where 7- to 12-year- olds play football and perform
cheer routines on the Colts’ perfectly manicured turf in an experience unique by
Red Zone Games is also the name of the Austin, Texas-based company which
organizes these youth football events at NFL stadiums across the country.
coming to Lucas Oil Stadium for its Indianapolis debut Nov. 5, 2017.
Red Zone Games began in 2012 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Since then, a thousand teams – comprised of 9,976 players and cheerleaders – have experienced the NFL sensation.
When football is tossed around in Indianapolis, or any NFL town, talk is focused on a
player’s size and weight and talent. But that’s not the case here. This event is not ultra
competitive, but instead focuses on community enthusiasm, family fun and the kids’
“This event is not about finding out who’s the best 12-year- old and under team,”says
Tim Bishop, Director of Red Zone Games. “If your number-one priority is proving howgood your team is, then this is not for you. These games are about having an amazing
experience while playing fun, safe football. It’s where every player gets to play at Lucas
Bishop frequently fields one particular concern: “We’re from a small town, where none of the kids on my team have played organized football. I don’t really have any great
athletes on my team. Won’t we just lose big time?”
Though most of the teams who participate at the event are recreational teams
from small towns with little football experience, according to Bishop, the brackets
are adjusted to allow teams from smaller areas to play teams from larger areas and still
give smaller area teams an equal chance at winning.
“Most leagues have an age or weight limit,” says Bishop. “This is because they can
control most of the other variables and reside in a district of similar community size.
Although this works for league games (even though you still get 42-0 games), this does
not work for Red Zone Games where so many other factors come into play.”
So how are final matchups determined? Without giving away his secrets, Bishop says
their system has created thousands of fun, safe football games since 2012 where teams
from the smallest 1A or 2A towns have won just as many games as teams from larger
areas. Matchups are “handpicked.”
“Win or lose, playing and cheering in a Red Zone Games event is extraordinary as
most people only dream about playing in an NFL stadium,” says Bishop, who is
planning for up to 96 teams from Indiana and the surrounding states to compete this
November in Indy.
If the accolades from the coaches in Texas are any indication, coaches here are in for a
• “My kids may not remember any other game this season, but they will remember
playing in an NFL stadium for the rest of their lives,” says Bob Roberts, head coach of
the West Austin Corsairs in Austin, Texas.
• “It wasn’t about wins, losses or touchdowns, but more about what experience the kids
took away,” says Will Engleman, of the Kyle Invaders Youth Football in Kyle, Texas. “We
told our players to dream big and keep putting in hard work!”
• “I think it’s a great experience for young athletes,” says Ray Garret, of Overton Youth
Football in Overton, Texas. “They see that field and team all the time on TV, and then to
be able to play on it really encourages kids to play sports and stay active. Red Zone
Games is a great environment and well-organized.”
This event is not solely for the kids. Parents and fans can also experience the euphoria
of the place with the Mom Football Throw competition, Dad Field Goal contests, and fan
“It’s a dream come true to watch my sons play there,” says Val Gonzales, of Memphis,
Texas. “Their dreams are to play there when they’re in high school.”
Bishop summed up the event with what he hopes the kids will say: “Now that I’ve played
in an NFL stadium, what else can I achieve?”
The Red Zone Games fact sheet
• What: Beginner level football teams play against other beginner youth teams from
Indiana and surrounding states.
– Six divisions ages 7 through 12 years old.
– Cheer teams will perform on the 50-yard line about halfway between the Colts’
horseshoe and the sidelines. Cheer routines can last up to three minutes and are
performed about every hour or two while the games are in progress.
– Fans can enjoy front row seats and watch all of the day's activities.
• When: Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 – from 7a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
• Team registration forms, fan tickets and more information: www.lorzg.com.
Deadline for teams, cheerleaders and coaches to register is Oct. 5 2017.
• Contact: Call/text Tim Bishop at (512) 771-5561 or via email at:
• Visit the Lucas Oil Red Zone Games Facebook page at: