New England Patriots

Gino Gappelletti with the New England Patriots (Courtesy of the New England Patriots)

Former Patriots player and long-time broadcaster Gino Cappelletti passed away on Thursday, the team announced. He was 89 years old.

A member of the original Boston Patriots in 1960, Cappelletti was with the organization for 10 years as a player as a wide receiver and kicker. He set the Patriots’ franchise scoring record with 1,130 points, and held it for 35 years. He currently ranks third in franchise history in points, as well as 10th in receptions with 292 and 12th in receiving yards with 4,589. He retired the all-time leading scorer for the AFL, and was named league MVP in 1964 as well as an All-Star in 1961 and 1963-1963.

In 1992, Cappelletti was the second player inducted into the Patriots team Hall of Fame, following John Hannah. He was named to the Patriots’ All-Time team in 2009, and his No. 20 is one of just seven retired by the organization.

Following his playing career, Cappelletti moved into the broadcast booth where he was the team’s color commentator from 1972-1978, and then after a short stint as the team’s special teams coach from 1988-2011. He was paired with the late Gil Santos on play-by-play for 28 seasons, during which time they called 585 games together including six Super Bowls.

“My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s passing this morning,” Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. “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.”

Scott Zolak, who followed Cappelletti as the Patriots’ color commentator following his retirement, shared his thoughts on Twitter. “Awful news today. Class act as a player & broadcaster,” Zolak wrote. “I learned so much from Gino and Gil. Will miss him dearly, our family’s condolences to his wife Sandy, the kids & all grandchildren. His stories on the road were legendary. Will never forget RIP Gino.”