RIP: Mr. Patriot

Gino Cappelletti was the Paul Hornung of the AFL, a hybrid player who could beat you from any direction. Primarily a kicker, defensive back and wide receiver, he scored 42 career touchdowns and an AFL record 1,130 points in the league’s 10-year history. He is one of three players who played in every one of his team’s AFL games.

He scored 147 points to win the AFL’s first scoring title, and 155 in 1964, when he won the AFL MVP. He returned punts and kickoffs and even threw a touchdown pass. He was the second player in AFL history to intercept three passes in a game, off Tom Flores in 1961.

His versatility shows up in one stat in particular: Gino Cappelletti was the only player in professional football history to do all of these things in a single season.

  • Run for a 2-point conversion
  • Throw for a 2-point conversion
  • Catch a pass
  • Intercept a pass
  • Return a punt
  • Return a kickoff

Inducted into the pro football Hall of Fame in 2003, Cappelletti formed a broadcasting team with Gil Santos, covering the Patriots for 28 years before retiring in 2012 at age 80. It was the longest-running broadcasting tandem in modern NFL history. Together they called 585 games, including six Super Bowls (also a record). He also covered Boston College football, including the Doug Flutie Hail Mary in 1984.

Rest in peace, Mr. Patriot. Here’s a short video of Gino with his longtime broadcasting partner Gil Santos, calling Super Bowl XXXVI.

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