Chad Kelly was one of four million contestants for the NFL's Punt, Pass and Kick competition. As he stood on the field at the RCA Dome waving to a nationwide audience of millions Sunday, he was one of four winners in the boys division of the tournament.
Kelly, who went to the national finals in Indianapolis as a representative of the Ravens, took home the title for 12- and 13-year-olds.
Having every eye of the thousands in attendance at the Indianapolis Colts and San Deigo Chargers divisional playoff game on you, in addition to the CBS cameras, would be nerve-wracking to most young teenagers, but not Kelly.
This 13-year-old has been there and done that.
It was the third national championship for Kelly. The Red Lion, Penn. resident won the trophy for 8- and 9-year-olds in 2003 as a Buffalo Bills delegate, then took the 10- and 11-year-old crown for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005.
In his five years of competing, Kelly has been the team winner for his age group every season.
The nephew of Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, Chad owes a debt of gratitude to his uncle's former team.
"I started when I was nine years old," said Kelly, who lived in Grand Island, NY before moving to Pennsylvania in 2005. "I was just at a Bills game, and I saw these kids getting introduced, and I asked my dad if we could do this. We just found out about it and started doing it."
Boys and girls were split up in four age divisions, with the top scorer in each group crowned national champion. Throughout the competition, all participants launched one punt, one pass and one kick, with scores based on distance and accuracy (in feet).
Each one of the members went through local, sectional and team competitions held throughout the NFL regular season, with the top four scorers in each age group from around the country qualified as national finalists.
Kelly began competing for the Ravens designation in 2006. That year, he placed seventh nationally.
"The first year we moved here, we entered the contest, but next thing you know, we're going to Philadelphia," said his proud father, Kevin. "We're saying, 'Wait a second, we want to go for the Ravens.'"
This time, Chad took the Ravens with him to the top.
A punt of 130 feet and 6 inches (43 yards) bested the next-highest boy for his age group by nearly 17 feet. His kick went 118 feet (39 yards). And, Kelly threw the ball 168 feet 8 inches (56 yards), an impressive number for any quarterback.
Kelly almost never had the opportunity to be on the field. While at uncle Jim's football camp over the summer, the 6-foot teenager suffered a frightening injury.
"I had the ball and I ran into some kid, bruising my spinal cord," said Chad. "They put me in a brace for three months, and then a week before the first competition, they took it off."
"But I came back, and that was my best round, too."
Kelly has the chance to compete for another two years before he turns 15. In fact, his overall totals of 417 feet and 3 inches were better than the best 15-year-old boy, who racked up 375 feet and 11 inches in Indianapolis.
"If you win, you get a huge wooden football," said Kelly. "So, that's pretty cool."
If their son keeps up his pace, the Kellys will have to clear some space off their mantle.