Gino Cappelletti

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Gino Cappelletti
Gino Cappelletti crop.jpg
Gino Capplletti in 2009
Born (1934-03-26) March 26, 1934 (age 80)
Keewatin, Minnesota, United States
Position(s) Wide Receiver,
Placekicker
College Minnesota
Jersey #(s) 20
Career highlights
CFL All-Star 1958
AFL All-Star 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Awards 1964 UPI, AP, TSN AFL MVP
Honors Boston Patriots 1960s All-Decade Team
Retired #s New England Patriots #20
Statistics
Teams
1955
1956

1958
1960-1969
1970
ORFU Sarnia Imperials
ORFU Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers
ORFU Sarnia Golden Bears
AFL Boston Patriots
NFL Boston Patriots

Gino Cappelletti (born March 26, 1934) is a former American collegiate and Professional Football player. He played at the University of Minnesota, and was a star in the American Football League for the Boston Patriots. He was the 1964 American Football League Most Valuable Player, a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and of their All-1960s Team, the American Football League Hall of Fame, and was an announcer for the radio broadcasts of the Patriots' games. His nickname is "Mr. Patriot".[1]

College career[edit]

Cappelletti attended the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota, he played back-up quarterback to All-American Paul Giel for three season. Cappelletti kicked extra points, but the team did not kick field goals in those years. They did not even practice the play. But as a sophomore, Cappelletti talked the coach into letting him try a 43-yarder in a tie game with Iowa. He made it, and the Gophers went on to win.[2]

In 1954, as a senior, Cappelletti switched to T-quarterback and led Minnesota to a 7-2 record. He was named to the All Big 10 second team, but was not drafted by any NFL team.

Professional Football career[edit]

Cappelletti played quarterback for the Sarnia Imperials of the ORFU in Canada during 1955. He joined Toronto Balmy Beach in 1956, but was drafted into the U.S. Army in mid-season, returning to Canada in 1958. Cappelletti signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, but was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, later cut, and went back to the ORFU, leading the Sarnia Golden Bears (the team changed its name in 1956) to the league championship.

Eventually, and most notably, he played for the AFL's Boston Patriots from 1960 through 1970 and was the Patriots' all-time leading scorer with 1,130 points (42 TDs, 176 FGs and 342 PATs), until December 5, 2005, when Adam Vinatieri kicked his second field goal of the game against the New York Jets.

Cappelletti led the American Football League in scoring five times and led or tied the NFL in scoring 5 times as well. He had two of the top five scoring seasons in pro football history – 155 points in 1964 and 147 points in 1961 (14-game seasons). Nicknamed the "Duke", he is the all-time leading scorer in the American Football League. Cappelletti is among the AFL's all-time top ten receivers, in yards and in receptions. He is the Patriots' third all-time leading receiver with 292 catches for 4,589 yards, and has attempted more field goals (334) than any other player in team history. During his pro career, he also returned punts and kickoffs, played defensive back, and even had one pass completion, for a touchdown. He holds the Professional Football record for most touchdowns in Saturday games (10).

The Wide Receiver/Quarterback relationship of Gino Cappelletti and Babe Parilli was nicknamed "Grand Opera."

Cappelletti was the American Football League's Most Valuable Player in 1964, and a five-time AFL All-Star. He is one of only twenty players who were in the American Football League for its entire ten-year existence, and one of three who played in every game their teams played in the AFL. He was the 2nd AFL Player to have 3 interceptions (of Tom Flores) in a regular season game. He had a 37-yard kickoff return in the Patriots 37-21 loss to the Houston Oilers on 12-18-60. He completed a 2 point pass to "Cowboy" Jim Crawford in the Patriots 35-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Chargers on 10-08-60. Gino completed a 27 yard fake field goal touchdown pass to Larry Garron in the Patriots 37-30 loss to the New York Titans on 10-01-61. He ran for three 2-point conversions and caught a pass for a 2-point conversion as well.

Cappelletti ran from the backfield for a 2-yard gain in the Patriots 41-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders on 10-06-68. He advanced a lateral from Jim Colclough (who had just caught a 37-yard pass) 14 yards before lateraling the ball to Ron Burton who advanced it another 7 yards in the Patriots 43-43 tie with the Oakland Raiders at Fenway Park on 10-16-64. He ran for a 4-yard gain on a wide receiver reverse in the Patriots 12-7 win over the Denver Broncos at Fenway Park on 11-20-64.

Cappelletti caught a pass for a 2-point conversion and scored 24 points in the Patriots 36-28 win over the 1964 AFL Champion Buffalo Bills on 11-15-64. Cappelletti scored 21 points in their 33-28 win over the 1963 AFL Champion San Diego Chargers on 09-20-64. He scored 18 points or more in a game 10 times and scored at least 20 points in a game 8 times. He set the AFL record by scoring 28 points in a game in the Patriots 42-14 rout of the Houston Oilers on 12-18-65.

He averaged 9.5 points per game over a 6-year period. (The Patriots record was 47-29-8 over these 6 seasons) No other Professional Football player has averaged more points per game over a 6-year period; and he averaged 7.5 points per game over an 11-year period, while no other player has averaged more points per game over an 11-year period. Cappelletti accounted for at least 34% of his teams total points scored over an 8-year period. No other Professional Football player has done that.

Cappelletti is tied with Lance Alworth for the most career points scored in AFL All Star Games, and is the only player in Professional Football history to run for a 2-point conversion, throw a pass for a 2-point conversion, catch a pass, intercept a pass and return a punt and a kickoff in the same season.

He kicked 6 field goals (without a miss) in the Patriots 39-10 rout of the Denver Broncos on 10-04-64. He was 1 of only 2 AFL kickers to kick at least 4 field goals in a game for 3 consecutive games. He kicked the longest field goal in the AFL in consecutive seasons. He kicked 12 field goals with less than 30 seconds to go in the 1st half and kicked 4 game winning field goals and 1 game tying field goal. He led the AFL with the best field goal percentage in 1965.

Cappelletti is the All-Time Points leader in AFL history.

One of his three sons-in-law is ex-Boston College and Chicago Bears standout Tom Waddle.

In 1984, Cappelletti was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Despite his star quality, his numerous records, his all-around skills and his uniqueness, like other worthy American Football League players he is still continually passed over by the selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Broadcasting[edit]

Cappelletti worked alongside Gil Santos as a color commentator for the Patriots' radio broadcasts on the New England Patriots Radio Network (in the 1988-90 period he worked alongside Dale Arnold). The Santos-Cappelletti duo lasted 28 seasons, the longest radio tandem in modern NFL history, according to the Worcester Telegram. They called 585 regular-season and postseason games together, including a league record six Super Bowls.

Gino, who did TV sports in Boston in the 1960s, also served as color commentator for the Boston College Eagles during the 1984 game between the University of Miami and Boston College when Doug Flutie hit Gerard Phelan on the final play. Cappelletti can be heard supporting Dan Davis' now-famous call by yelling "He got it!, He got it!, I don't believe it!" On July 20, 2012, Cappelletti announced he was retiring from broadcasting.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Lance Alworth, Clem Daniels, & Tobin Rote
American Football League MVP
1964
Succeeded by
Jack Kemp & Paul Lowe
Preceded by
Steve Hausmann
Boston College Eagles football color commentator
1982-1984
Succeeded by
Upton Bell
Preceded by
Upton Bell
Boston College Eagles football color commentator
1987
Succeeded by
Pete Cronan