Gino Cappelletti has been behind the microphone for the New England Patriots for as long as I can remember (more than three decades). An original member of the Boston Patriots and leading scorer in the American Football League with 1,130 points (42 TDs, 176 FGs and 342 PATs), Cappelletti has been the color analyst for the Pats through the tough and great years. He has been associated with the Patriots for 52 years as a coach, player and broadcaster.
That five-plus decades of experience with the Patriots makes Cappelletti almost as much of an institution as the team. That was clear from the plaudits he earned form Bob Kraft and Bill Bellichick upon the announcement of his retirement.
Kraft noted, “There will never be another Gino Cappelletti…. While he may be stepping down as a broadcaster, he will always be a Patriots ambassador and will remain one of the most iconic figures in franchise history.”
Bellichick said, “Around the team, he wasn’t just a broadcaster but was – and remains – truly part of the team, respected by players and coaches for representing everything good about sports. Gino is a class act, one of the true gentlemen of the AFL and NFL and I am proud to have been associated with him every week of my career as Patriots head coach.”
Cappelletti, who was a wide receiver and placekicker, started his professional football career in Canada. After attending the University of Minnesota and playing quarterback, in 1955 he played his first pro games with the Sarnia Imperials of Canada’s ORFU. His career in Canada was interrupted by a stint in the Army from 1956- 1958. He was also in the Canadian Football League and in 1958 he made the All-Star team.
In 1960, he became a member of the Boston Patriots. He led the AFL in scoring five times. Gino, who was nicknamed the “Duke” and in association with Boston quarterback Babe Parilli, was known as “Grand Opera,” is among the AFL’s all-time top ten receivers in yards and in receptions. For the Pats, he holds records in the following receiving categories—292 catches for 4,589 yards. He was also the all-time scorer for the Patriots until Adam Vinatieri set a new record in 2005. Along with being a top receiver and placekicker, Cappelletti was amazingly versatile. He played D-back, returned punts and kickoffs and threw a pass for a TD.
Behind the Microphone
Cappelletti had an unpolished, everyman delivery behind the microphone. His deep understanding of the game and his standards for professional play guided his broadcasts. He always knew what had to be done and how it should be done. When you listened to Gino on the radio, you always knew you’d get an honest commentary. He praised the Pats when they deserved and celebrated their victories, but he was also a fine professional critic. In other words, he wasn’t your typical “homer,” and that’s always refreshing.
Miss Ya, Gino!
I’m going to miss Gino. More times than not when I was driving one of my kids to a hockey game or two on a Sunday, he’d been my connection to the New England Patriots.
By the way, here’s something I really admire. Cappelletti played every game in the decade-long AFL. He’s only one of three players to do that. That’s the Duke—he’s always been a gamer each and every day. I’m sure we have not heard the last of Gino. Adieu, for now, mon ami!