One of youth football's most popular contests, the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick program, continues to go strong since its debut in 1961.
The contest is open to boys and girls ages 6-15. In the past, the ages were limited to 8-15, but a rules change in 2010 allowed 6- and 7-year olds the chance to compete for the first time.
So how does Punt, Pass and Kick work?
Participants start out in local competitions, which take place across the country. The contest is free and all that's needed is a birth certificate to verify age. Players can only participate in one local competition a year.
From there, players get the opportunity for one punt, one pass and one kick, and a score is calculated based on those results. The score is a combination of distance and accuracy.
For example, if a player punts the ball 120 feet, but the ball lands 25 feet away from the measuring tape, the final score for the punt will be 95. The tries are measured down to the inch.
The scores for each attempt are then added up for a participant's final score. So if a player's punt score is 100, passing score is 50 and kicking score is 45, the player's final score will be 195.
The top finisher in each age group at each local competition will qualify for the sectional competition. At sectionals, each participant starts over and tallies new scores.
The top four finishers in each age group at the sectional competition advance to the team championship in their respective NFL market. The winners there are named that NFL market's Punt, Pass and Kick champion.
From there, the top four scores nationally in each age group come together for the national competition. The finals generally take place in January at an NFL stadium that's playing host to a playoff game. In 2010, it was at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before the Chargers-Jets playoff game.
Besides the framework of the competition and the scoring rules, there are a few things that participants should keep in mind.
- The NFL stresses that only soft-sole gym shoes are allowed. No football shoes, football cleats or bare feet are allowed.
- Also, outside of shoes, all equipment will be provided by the host. Players, for example, cannot use their own football.
How to Sign Up
The NFL's Punt Pass and Kick website, NFLPPK.com, has an easy widget where you can type in your zip code and see where upcoming local events are in your area. Local competitions generally take place between July and September.
If you're fortunate enough to move on, sectional and team championships take place all through the fall before a national champion is crowned in January.