The dead zone in football refers to the area of the field in which a team is on their opponents half of the field yet too far away to kick a field goal. When in the dead zone teams will often go for it on fourth down.
In the game of football there teams usually choose between two options when it comes to fourth down.
If they are close enough to their opponent’s goal line the team will attempt a field goal. In this play, the kicker will attempt to kick the ball in between the uprights.
If the kicker scores the kick the offensive team will be awarded three points. If the kicker misses the kick the opposing team will take possession of the ball at their location.
The other option teams have on fourth down is to punt the ball. Punting the ball will send it roughly fifty yards down the field to the opponents. Once the punt returner is tackled the opponents will start with the ball from the location they were tackled.
This usually moves the team that has gained possession of the ball much further away from the endzone.
Teams will punt the ball in order to change the field position making it more difficult on their opponents. Unless a team is in field goal range they will usually choose to punt the ball on fourth down.
Fourth Downs In The Dead Zone
Dealing with fourth downs in the dead zone often results in a tough choice for the coaching staff. The dead zone in football tends to be between the fifty-yard line and the opponents fourty yard line.
At this point on the field, a team will be just outside of field goal range. At this point on the field a punt is not going to put a team much closer to their endzone than losing possession of the ball.
That is why teams that possess the ball in the dead zone will often choose to go for it on fourth down. Going for it on fourth down means that the team will attempt one more play to reach the first down marker.
If the team fails to get the first down then the opponents will gain possession of the ball at their location.
But if the team does gain the first down they will have a fresh set of downs and will likely now be in field goal range.
The dead zone in football is known for being the area on the field in which teams are most likely to attempt a fourth down.
Though as kickers have improved their ability to kick field goals the dead zone has begun to move closer to midfield. Previously the dead zone area was considered to start at the 33-yard line.
Nowadays just about any team in the NFL would be happy to attempt a field goal at that distance.