Former Boston Patriots quarterback, Babe Parilli, dies at 87

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Babe Parilli
Vito "Babe" Parilli spent seven seasons with the Boston Patriots, becoming the first great Patriots quarterback. Image Courtesy of: talesfromtheamericanfootballleague.com

Patriots’ Hall of Famer, quarterback Vito Parilli, better known as ‘Babe’ passed away Saturday at the age of 87.

Parilli was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the fourth pick in 1952. This followed two seasons under Bear Bryant at Kentucky. He was a two-time Heisman Award finalist with the Wildcats and earned All-American honors twice, helping him reach the College Football Hall of Fame.


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After a year away from football in 1959, Parilli joined the Raiders of the upstart American Football League. After one year and one start, the Raiders traded Parilli to the Boston Patriots where his career took off.

Babe Parilli Passing Table
Year Age Tm No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Lng Y/A Rate
1952 22 GNB 15 12 4 2-2-0 77 177 43.5 1416 13 17 90 8.0 56.6
1953 23 GNB 15 12 5 0-5-0 74 166 44.6 830 4 19 45 5.0 28.5
1956 26 CLE 18 5 3 1-2-0 24 49 49.0 409 3 7 68 8.3 58.5
1957 27 GNB 10 12 1 0-1-0 39 102 38.2 669 4 12 75 6.6 34.8
1958 28 GNB 10 12 4 1-3-0 68 157 43.3 1068 10 13 80 6.8 53.3
1960 30 OAK 10 14 1 1-0-0 87 187 46.5 1003 5 11 49 5.4 47.6
1961 31 BOS 15 14 8 6-2-0 104 198 52.5 1314 13 9 53 6.6 76.5
1962 32 BOS 15 10 10 6-3-1 140 253 55.3 1988 18 8 67 7.9 91.5
1963* 33 BOS 15 14 13 7-5-1 153 337 45.4 2345 13 24 77 7.0 52.1
1964*+ 34 BOS 15 14 14 10-3-1 228 473 48.2 3465 31 27 80 7.3 70.8
1965 35 BOS 15 14 13 4-8-1 173 426 40.6 2597 18 26 73 6.1 50.0
1966* 36 BOS 15 14 14 8-4-2 181 382 47.4 2721 20 20 63 7.1 66.9
1967 37 BOS 15 14 11 3-7-1 161 344 46.8 2317 19 24 79 6.7 58.5
1968 38 NYJ 15 14 29 55 52.7 401 5 2 47 7.3 91.6
1969 39 NYJ 15 14 14 24 58.3 138 2 1 29 5.8 85.1
Care Care 189 101 49-45-7 1552 3330 46.6 22681 178 220 90 6.8 59.6

Parilli spent seven seasons with the Patriots where he compiled a 44-32-7 record. He threw for 16,747 yards and 132 touchdowns over that span, making him the first of many great Patriots quarterbacks.

His best season came in 1964 when he led the Patriots to a 10-3 record. During that year, Parilli threw 3,465 yards and 31 touchdowns. His 31 passing touchdowns in a single season stood as the Patriots all-time record until Tom Brady broke it in 2007. That year he threw 50.

After his time with the Patriots ended, Parilli spent two years with the Jets before retiring from the league. In his final season, he won a Super Bowl as the back up to the Jets’ Joe Namath in Super Bowl III. After his playing career ended, he enjoyed a long career as a coach in the World Football League as well as the Arena Football League.

– Ian Glendon is a National Co-Editor for cover32 and the Managing Editor for cover32/Patriots. He covers the NFL and New England Patriots. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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