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Babe Parilli (1930 – 2017)

by Legacy Staff

Former NFL and AFL quarterback…

Vito “Babe” Parilli, a former NFL quarterback, has died, according to an announcement made by the New England Patriots Saturday, July 15, 2017. He was 87.

Parilli played professional football for 15 years, splitting time among five teams in both the NFL and AFL. He served as Joe Namath’s backup when the New York Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969. He also set a franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season for the Patriots with 31 in 1964. That record stood until Tom Brady broke it in 2007 with 50.


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Born May 7, 1930, in Rochester, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, he played college football for University of Kentucky under the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He was an All-American in 1950 and 1951.

He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1952 and spent the 1950s playing for the Packers, Cleveland Browns, and Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. In 1960, he was signed by the Oakland Raiders of the newly formed American Football League. He was then traded to the Boston Patriots in 1961.

During his tenure with the Patriots, he became one of the AFL’s top quarterbacks. He was selected to the All-Star team three times and was named the AFL comeback player of the year in 1966. He then signed with the New York Jets where he finished his career, retiring in 1970.

Following his playing career, Parilli coached in the World Football League and Arena Football League in a coaching career that lasted from 1973 to 1997.

He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

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