Gino Cappelletti 6' 190 WR/ K Boston Patriots 1960 - 1970 11 Seasons 153 Games Played 292 Receptions 42 Touchdowns 1,130 Points Scored 5 Pro Bowls 1964 AFL Player of the Year
Gino Raymond Michael Cappelletti went the long route to the Patriots as a free agent in 1960. He was a stand out player at the University of Minnesota. He played Quarterback, place kicked some, as well as playing defense. Gino was the Gopher Iron Man of 1953, averaging 50 minutes played per game, and is a member of the 2001 M Club Hall of Fame. After college, Gino went to Canada and played rugby in the Ontario Rugby Football Union until 1956. He was then drafted, and served, in the U.S. Army until 1958. Gino then joined the Canadian Football League and played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders. After being cut by the Roughriders, Gino rejoined the rugby league until 1960.
The Boston Patriots and American Football League were born in 1960, and Gino made the team as a 26 year old rookie. The Patriots made good use of Cappelletti's versatility. He played Cornerback and Placekicker mainly in his rookie season. He intercepted 4 passes for 68 yards, and scored 54 points kicking. He intercepted 3 passes in one game off of future NFL coach Tom Flores. Coaching great Lou Saban then moved Gino to Wide Receiver the next season. Cappelletti responded with his Pro Bowl season. He caught 45 receptions for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also threw the only pass of his career, which went for a 27 yard touchdown. He led the AFL with 32 field goal attempts and 17 conversions, while making 48 of 50 extra points. He scored a total of 147 points that year. In 1962, Gino scored 98 points kicking, and snagged 34 balls for 5 scores. Gino's next season saw him snare 34 passes for 2 touchdowns, while accruing 101 points kicking. He led the AFL with the AFL with 38 field goal attempts and 22 makes, and made his second All Pro squad. He led the AFL with 39 field goal attempts and 25 makes in 1964, while scoring 116 points kicking. Gino also had a career best 49 receptions and 865 yards, while finding the end zone 7 times. His 155 total points was his career best, and Gino earned his third All Pro team award. Gino's 155 points were, at the time, the second most in Pro Football history, surpassing his 1961 total. Gino Cappelleti was named the 1964 AFL Player of the Year. In 1965, Gino scored a career high 9 touchdowns on 37 catches. His 18.7 yards per catch average was also a career best. He also led the AFL in field goal percentage, and made the All Pro team again. Gino made his last All Pro team in 1966. He caught 43 passes for 6 scores, while taking one pass for a career best 63 yards. 1967 was Gino's last year to be used a lot as a receiver. He caught 35 passes for 3 scores. He caught 13 balls the next season for last 2 touchdowns of his career. Gino did catch 1 pass for 21 yards in 1969, but mainly was used as a kicker. Cappelletti was 36 years old in 1970, as the Patriots joined the NFL. Used only as a kicker that year, he scored the last 40 points of his career. He retired after that season with 292 receptions for 4,489 yards and 42 touchdowns. He is still 3rd in Patriots history for career receptions and yards. His 1,130 points were a Patriots record until Adam Vinatieri surpassed it in 2005. His jersey was retired by the Patriots, and he is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade Team, and the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Gino Cappelletti is a symbol of determination, perseverance, and versatility. He is the only player to have averaged 7.5 points a game over an 11 year career. He once averaged 9.6 points a game over a six year period, which no other player has ever done either. His 1961 and 1964 seasons still rank in the top 10 for the most points scored in a season. The fact that Gino accomplished these feats in 14 game seasons make it even more impressive. Gino led the AFL in scoring 5 times, which is tied for the most times ever that a player has led a league in scoring. He led the AFL in scoring 4 consecutive seasons, which is the second best streak in pro football history. Gino is the only player in the history of professional football history to to run for a 2 point conversion, throw a pass for a 2 point conversion, catch a pass, intercept a pass, return a punt and a kickoff in the same season. He is tied with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most career points scored in AFL All Star Games, and is 1 of only 2 AFL Kickers to kick at least 4 field goals in a game for 3 consecutive games. He is the second player in AFL history to have picked off 3 passes in a game, and set the AFL record by scoring 28 points in a game. He has attempted the most field goals in Patriots history, and is is amongst the AFL's all-time top ten receivers in yards and in receptions. He accomplished this during a ten year span where the Patriots played on 4 "home" fields throughout the New England area, making his accomplishments even more amazing. Nicknamed "The Duke" by his team mates, Gino often teamed up with Patriots legendary QB Babe Parilli. This connection was dubbed the "Grand Opera." Gino is one of only 3 players to have played in every game of their franchises games while a member of the AFL, and one of only 20 to have played in every game in AFL history. The fact that he has not yet been inducted into Canton reeks of NFL envy. As I have stated in past profilings of AFL greats, there is an obvious exclusion of AFL players by the NFL. I keep screaming that this is the PRO Football Hall Of Fame, NOT JUST the NFL Hall Of Fame! Gino Cappelletti should have been inducted into Canton years ago! It is up to us fans to remind the voters that the AFL counts, was important, and should never be forgotten. No matter how hard they seem to try.
Notable Players Drafted In 1960 (* Denotes Hall of Fame Member)
1. Billy Cannon, RB, LA Rams 3. Johnny Robinson, DB, Detroit 8. Jim Houston, LB, Cleveland 10. Ron Mix, OT, Baltimore * 13. Harold Olson, T, Saint Louis Cardinals 17. Bob Jeter, DB, Green Bay 20. Maxie Baughan, LB, Philadelphia 23. Don Floyd, DE, Baltimore Colts 24. Marvin Terrell, G, Baltimore Colts 32. Don Meredith, QB, Chicago 35. Rod Breedlove, LB, San Francisco 37. Willie West, DB, St. Louis 40. Ted Dean, FB, Philadelphia 41. Johnny Brewer, TE, Cleveland 42. Roger Brown, DT, Detroit 44. Jim Marshall, DT, Cleveland 48. Vince Promuto, G, Washington 55. Abner Haynes, RB, Pittsburgh 56. Don Norton, WR, Philadephia 59. Len Rohde, T, San Francisco 63. Glen Coqdill, WR, Detroit 69. Bob Khayat, G, Cleveland 72. George Blair, DB, NY Giants 74. Larry Wilson, S, St. Louis Cardinals * 86. Carroll Dale, WR, LA Rams 88. Bill Mathis, FB, San Francisco 105. Chris Burford, WR, Cleveland 106. Don Perkins, FB, Baltimore 109. Charley Johnson, QB, St. Louis Cardinals 110. Curtis McClinton, RB, LA Rams 111. Grady Alderman, T, Detroit 118. Mel Branch, DE, San Francisco 119. Bobby Boyd, DB, Baltimore 157. Bob DeMarco, C, Saint Louis 161. Jon Gilliam, C, Green Bay 162. Brady Keys, DB, Pittsburgh 178. Larry Grantham, LB, Baltimore 181. Jim Hunt, DT, Saint Louis 203. Goose Gonsoulin, DB, San Francisco 229. Tom Day, DE, St. Louis
Notable 1960 AFL Allocation Picks
Jim Otto, C, Minneapolis/ Oakland Raiders * Jim Norton, DB, Dallas Texans Wayne Hawkins, G, Denver Dean Look, WB, Denver (Noted NFL Referee, and MLB Player) Bill Mathis, RB, New York Titans/ Jets Pat Dye, T, Boston Patriots (College Football Hall of Fame Coach) Billy Brewer, QB, Boston (Ole Miss Legend as Player, then Coach) Chuck McMurtry, DT, Buffalo Ray Jauch, RB, Buffalo (Noted CFL, USFL, and Arena League Coach) Ron Burton, RB, Boston Jim Walden, QB, Denver (Noted College Football Coach) Jacky Lee, QB, Houston Oilers Paul Maguire, LB/ P, Los Angeles Chargers ( Noted Football Commentater ) Ed "Wahoo" McDaniel, LB, LA Chargers ( WWE Hall of Fame) Bob Talamini, G, Houston Curt Merz, C, NY Titans