<span>The New Orleans Saints hosted the HSPD National High School seven vs. seven passing tournament Friday and Saturday at their training facility in Metairie. Sixteen high school teams representing their respective markets competed in the tournament, with the Seattle Seahawks beating the New York Jets in the championship matchup. The teams, whose players participated in the NFL's High School Player Development Program, were comprised of 12 players each.
The teams competed in a series of round-robin games to determine seeding, and then faced off against each other again once the bracket-style playoff was set. NFL teams that were represented include the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins. Capitol High School from Baton Rouge represented the Saints after winning the regional tournament in late June.
Friday night, after tournament play concluded, the players were treated to a tour of the up-and-coming lower ninth ward that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a tour of the Louisiana Superdome hosted by manager Doug Thornton and a barbeque at the Saints cafeteria. The night concluded with a Madden video game tournament in the Saints indoor practice facility.
The NFL's nationwide HSPD program focuses on character development and specific skill training and provides participants with a curriculum that focuses on inspiring excellence in the classroom, community, and on the playing field. The program is free for students and participation in the program has grown to more than 12,000 high school students in 17 cities nationwide.