Gino Cappelletti

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Gino Cappelletti
refer to caption
Cappelletti in 2009
No. 20
Position: Wide receiver / Placekicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1934-03-26) March 26, 1934 (age 82)
Place of birth: Keewatin, Minnesota, U.S.
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Keewatin (MN)
College: Minnesota
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

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,[1] winning the 1964 American Football League Most Valuable Player award.[2] Cappelletti is a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, the Patriots' All-1960s Team and the American Football League Hall of Fame. He served as the Patriots' radio color commentator until July 2012. His nicknames included "The Duke" and "Mr. Patriot".[3][4]

College career[edit]

Born and raised in tiny Keewatin in northern Minnesota, Cappelletti played college football at the University of Minnesota, where he was a quarterback, backing up All-American Paul Giel.[5] Cappelletti kicked extra points, but the team did not kick field goals in those years. However, as a sophomore in 1952, Cappelletti talked the coach into letting him try a game-winning 43-yard kick against Iowa.[6][7][8]

As a senior in 1954, Cappelletti switched to T-quarterback and led Minnesota to a 7–2 record, missing the final game with an elbow injury,[9] a 27–0 loss at Wisconsin.[10] He was named to the All-Big Ten second team, but was not selected in the 1955 NFL draft.

Professional football career[edit]

Canada[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, was later cut, and went back to the ORFU, leading the Sarnia Golden Bears (the team having changed its name in 1956) to the league championship.

Boston Patriots[edit]

Cappelletti was out of pro football in 1959, back in Minnesota. With the launch of the American Football League in 1960, he joined the Boston Patriots and was initially a kicker and defensive back.[5][11][12] He switched to offense late in that season and teamed up with quarterback Babe Parilli to form a tandem nicknamed "Grand Opera Twins," due to their Italian surnames.[13] Cappelletti won AFL MVP honors in 1964,[2] led the league in scoring five times and was a five-time AFL All-Star. He holds the professional football record for points over a six-year period (9.5), points over an 11-year period (7.5) and percentage of his team's total points over an eight-year period (34%). One of twenty AFL players active during the entirety of the league's ten-year existence, Cappelletti was also among just three players who played in every one of his team's AFL games. He played with the Patriots all eleven years in Boston, from 1960 through the 1970 NFL merger season, and retired in late August 1971 at age 37;[1][14] he was the AFL's all-time leading scorer with 1,130 points (42 TDs, 176 FGs and 342 PATs) and among the AFL's top ten all-time receivers in yards and in receptions. Cappelletti had two of the top five scoring seasons in pro football history, with 155 points in 1964 and 147 points in 1961 (14-game seasons). His Patriots team scoring record lasted until it was broken by Adam Vinatieri on December 5, 2005. To date, Cappelletti is the Patriots' third all-time leading receiver with 292 catches for 4,589 yards, and has the most field goal attempts (334) in team history.

During Cappelletti's pro career, he also returned punts and kickoffs, played defensive back and even had one pass completion for a touchdown. Cappelletti was just the second AFL player to record three interceptions (of Tom Flores) in a regular-season game, holds the professional football record for most touchdowns in Saturday games (10), scored 18 points or more in a game ten times and scored 20 or more points in a game eight times. He set the AFL single-game record by scoring 28 points in the Patriots' 42–14 rout of Houston on December 18, 1965.[15] Cappelletti is the only player in professional football history to run for a two-point conversion, throw for a two-point conversion, catch a pass, intercept a pass, return a punt and return a kickoff in the same season. He kicked six field goals (without a miss) in a 39–10 win at Denver on October 4, 1964,[3] and became one of only two AFL kickers with at least four field goals per game for three consecutive games. Cappelletti kicked the longest field goal in the AFL in consecutive seasons and led the AFL in field-goal percentage in 1965.

In 1984, Cappelletti was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Despite his star quality and his numerous records, Cappelletti, like other worthy American Football League players, has continually been passed over by the selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was named to the Professional Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's inaugural HOVG class. [16]

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. 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 famous "Hail Flutie" game in 1984. 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 his retiriement from broadcasting.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Cappelletti is the father-in-law of ex-Boston College and Chicago Bears standout Tom Waddle. Cappelletti is not related to running back John Cappelletti of Penn State, the Heisman Trophy winner in 1973.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Carnicelli, Joe (September 1, 1971). "Cappelletti retires at 37". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). UPI. p. 13. 
  2. ^ a b Hand, Jack (December 17, 1964). "Gino Cappelletti named most valuable player". Evening News (Newburgh, New York). Associated Press. p. 13B. 
  3. ^ a b "Cappelletti kicks six FGs". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). Associated Press. October 5, 1964. p. 6B. 
  4. ^ Oldeman, Ryan. "Legendary New England Patriots Broadcaster Gino Cappelletti Signing Off After 32 Years". Sports Media 101. Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Cappelletti Patriot hero". Nashua Telegraph (New Hampshire). Associated Press. October 30, 1961. p. 13. 
  6. ^ "Minnesota comeback beats fumbling Hawkeyes, 17-7". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. November 2, 1952. p. 42. 
  7. ^ "Gopher rally beats Iowa". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. November 2, 1952. p. B3. 
  8. ^ "THE DUKE OF BOSTON," by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll, THE COFFIN CORNER: Vol. 3, No. 8 (1981)
  9. ^ Ingrassia, Tony (November 20, 1954). "Badgers favored over Minnesota". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  10. ^ Ingrassia, Tony (November 21, 1954). "Badgers rout Gophers, 27–0; set interception record". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1C. 
  11. ^ "Patriots find unknown ace in Cappelletti". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). Associated Press. November 2, 1961. p. 2D. 
  12. ^ "Gino Cappelletti took golf tip from Palmer to help kicking". Milwaukee Journal. UPI. February 22, 1965. p. 2, Final. 
  13. ^ "Parilli gains loop award". Spokane Daily Chronicle (Washington). Associated Press. November 19, 1964. p. 40. 
  14. ^ "Gino Cappeppetti, last of original Patriots, retires; Forrest Gregg joins Dallas". Gettysburg Times (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. September 1, 1971. p. 19. 
  15. ^ "Cappelletti leads Patriot triumph". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). Associated Press. December 19, 1965. p. 2B. 
  16. ^ "Hall of Very Good". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  17. ^ Gino Cappelletti retires from broadcasting
  18. ^ "Cappelletti '73 Heisman Winner". Spartanburg Herald (South Carolina). Associated Press. December 5, 1973. p. B2. 

External links[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