Celebrating a legacy is the best way to preserve it and pass it along to the next generation. We shall all do the same when it comes to “Mr.Patriot”.
Gino Cappelletti was known to New Englanders as Mr. Patriot as he was a member of one of the original members of the Boston Patriots. The Patriots organization was saddened to release the passing of Gino Cappelletti on Thursday, May 12th at the age of 89.
Remembering Gino Cappelletti
He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and ten grandchildren. Gino was born in northern Minnesota in the town of Keewatin in 1934 and would attend and graduate high school in his hometown. Mr. Cappelletti would go on to attend the University of Minnesota and play quarterback and kicked extra points for the Golden Gophers football team.
He would switch to kicking Field goals halfway into his college career and go on to graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1954. After college Gino would spend the next five years playing in Canada for several teams. By 1959 and back in Minnesota he was out of football until he would get his big break to play in the NFL.
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Celebrating Cappelletti’s Football Career
In 1960 Mr. Cappelletti would be selected to join the Boston Patriots as one of the original Patriots. As the AFL was forming the Boston Patriots became one of the original members of the American Football League. Boston Drafted him to play both defensive backs and kick field goals for the team.
One of Gino’s first major accomplishments came when he scored the first points of the American Football League on a Field Goal against the Denver Broncos on September 9, 1960, in a 13-10 loss. He would pick up another nickname as “The Duke” because he also played receiver in addition to kicking field goals.
In just his second season with the Patriots, he would add another position to quarterback teaming up with fellow teammate quarterback Babe Parilli. In 1964 he won AFL MVP honors and still holds the league for most points scored in five seasons. Gino played his entire ten-year career with the Boston Patriots from 1960-to 1970.
Life After Football
After his playing days, he would go on to broadcast Patriots games from 1972 thru 1978 before joining Ron Erhardt’s coaching staff in 1979 thru 1981 as a special teams coach. He was elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992 as just the second member to be elected at that time with only John Hannah.
He would return to the Patriots broadcast booth from 1988 thru 2011 joining the late Gil Santos. During this time Cappelletti would call 585 games and six Super Bowls. In addition to having a Hall of Fame playing career, Gino was the voice of a generation and impacted many lives everywhere he went.
Comments From Robert Kraft
“For the first 51 years of this franchise’s history, Gino contributed as an all-star player, assistant coach, and broadcaster. You couldn’t be a Patriots fan during that era and not be a fan of Gino’s,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “The Patriots have had many iconic, fan-favorite players over the years. Gino was the first.”
“I remember watching him play in 1960 and throughout his career. He was one of the AFL’s biggest stars, becoming the first Patriots player to earn league MVP honors and retiring as the league’s all-time leading scorer. He became the second player in franchise history to earn Patriots Hall of Fame induction and I will always believe he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
“As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller. On behalf of my family and the entire Patriots organization, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Gino’s wife, Sandy, their three daughters, Gina, Cara, and Christina, and their 10 grandchildren, as well as the many others who will be mourning his loss.”
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