For 51 years, the NFL has hosted the annual NFL Punt, Pass and Kick (PPK) competition. The program teaches young athletes about the fundamentals of football, as well as the importance of being active.
In 2012, at halftime during a Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium, students from the Kansas City area competed in the PPK contest. Those who scored the highest advanced to the next round, nationals in Atlanta.
Forty young athletes from across the country competed in the national finals in Atlanta, one of which was a young girl from Peculiar, Missouri. Hayden Kurtz, at age seven, represented the Kansas City Chiefs at the PPK competition, inside the Georgia Dome.
"We are so proud of her," Hayden's mother, Christi Kurtz noted. "Four individuals in her group competed. They had to do their punt, their pass and their kick was their last one."
Hayden competed in the girls six and seven-year-old age group, surpassing her competitors by 38.3 feet, with a total for the day of 149.3 feet.
"I did my competition on Saturday and then I got the award on Saturday afternoon," Hayden commented. "It's a football helmet and on the side it says, 'Punt, Pass and Kick Girls'."
This is Hayden's second year to compete in the PPK contest, following in her older sisters' footsteps.
"Her two older sisters have been competing in PPK, so once she turned six last year, she decided to jump on the chance to compete too," Kurtz said. "Last year she competed at Arrowhead and finished second and then this year she went and finished first and was able to go the nationals in Atlanta."
Hayden's parents are ecstatic about their daughter's success in the competition and the Chiefs organization made sure they were decked out in Red and Gold by sending a special gift to Atlanta.
"We are really excited about how well she did and are so proud of her," Victor Kurtz, Hayden's father commented. "She received a gift bag from the Chiefs before the competition with a girl's jersey, a hat, a jacket, an autographed football, photos and some shirts. It was great; she was very excited about it."
The Chiefs organization, along with Hayden's parents, are extremely proud of how she represented the Chiefs Kingdom in Atlanta.
"We are so proud of Hayden for representing the Chiefs Kingdom in such spectacular fashion," Chuck Castellano, Chiefs Community Relations Manager noted.
"Even though she's the first NFL Punt, Pass and Kick champion that we've had since 2007, the Chiefs typically send a strong contingent of participants to the finals."
Ironically, our own head coach Andy Reid participated in the PPK competition as well, back in 1971.
"It's perfect symmetry that Hayden captured the crown at the same time that Andy Reid, himself a PP&K participant as a teenager, became the 13th head coach of our franchise," Castellano said.
Watch as Andy Reid competes in PPK.