Some called him, ‘The Duke.’ Others called him, ‘Mr. Patriot.’
Perhaps he may best be remembered by the moniker ‘Legend.’
Gino Cappelletti, a Patriots Hall of Fame wide receiver and kicker, as well as a beloved team broadcaster, passed away this morning at his home with his family at the age of 89.
Gino Cappelletti lines up for the kick
Gino Cappelletti on the sidelines
Cappelletti has been a member of the Patriots organization since inception; a part of the then-Boston Patriots roster in 1960. He earned the American Football League’s (AFL) 1964 Most Valuable Player award and was one of only three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda. Cappelletti finished his career as the AFL’s all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170).
Cappelletti became just the second Patriots player to be inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 1992, joining offensive lineman John Hannah. Cappelletti was inducted along with his good friend Nick Buoniconti that year. Cappelletti spent his entire 11-year career with the Patriots from 1960 through 1970 after joining the team from the University of Minnesota. A five-time AFL All-Star selection, he led the AFL in scoring five times and holds the top two scoring seasons in AFL history with 155 points in 1964 and 147 points in 1961. He holds the Patriots single-game record for points in a game with 28 on Dec. 18, 1965 vs. Houston.
In addition to the Patriots Hall of Fame, Cappelletti was named to the Patriots all-time team during its 50th anniversary season in 2009 and the All-AFL team in 1971.
Cappelletti still ranks third all-time in Patriots history in scoring with 1,130 career points, as well as 10th with 292 receptions and 12th with 4,589 receiving yards.
Following his playing career, Cappellletti spent seven seasons (1972-78) in the broadcast booth before once again lending his talents to the sidelines as the special teams coach from 1979 through the 1981 season on the staff of then Patriots coach Ron Erhardt. He returned to the broadcast booth in 1988, where he remained through the 2011 seasons, alongside fellow broadcast legend Gil Santos. Both Santos and Cappelletti were on the call for New England’s first championship victory in Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams.
Robert Kraft, Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti, Jonathan Kraft
Gino Cappelletti, Patriots Hall of Fame
Gino Cappelletti’s Uniform on display at the Patriots Hall of Fame, Foxboro, MA
Through a team communication, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued the following statement, reflecting on Cappelletti’s life and legacy.
“My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s passing this morning. 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. 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.”
Funeral service arrangements have not yet been made and will be shared once they are confirmed.
(Details cred: Patriots.com )