Former Patriots Quarterback Babe Parilli Dies at 87

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Vito Parilli, who was known as Babe, with the Jets in 1969. He had a Hall of Fame college career as a quarterback at the University of Kentucky. Credit Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Babe Parilli, the former Patriots quarterback who starred in the team’s American Football League days, died Saturday. He was 87.

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Parilli passing for the Boston Patriots of the American Football League in the mid-1960s. He threw for 22,681 yards, 178 touchdowns and 220 interceptions in the A.F.L. and N.F.L.

The New England Patriots announced the death. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Parilli played for the Boston Patriots from 1961 to 1967. He was voted to three A.F.L. All-Star Games and was named the league’s comeback player of the year in 1966.

Parilli’s 31 touchdown passes in 1964 were a team record until 2007. He is fourth on the Patriots’ career passing list with 16,747 yards and is in the team’s Hall of Fame. He also was known as an excellent holder.

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Jets quarterbacks Joe Namath, left, and Parilli during training camp before the 1968 season, which culminated in the franchise’s only Super Bowl victory. Credit Associated Press

He began his professional career with the Green Bay Packers in 1952, and also played for the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Jets and the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Rough Riders. He was the backup to Joe Namath when the Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969.

Vito Parilli was born in Rochester, Pa. — not far from Namath’s hometown, Beaver Falls. Both Parilli and Namath played under Coach Bear Bryant in college — Parilli at Kentucky and Namath at Alabama. Parilli led Kentucky to victories over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl and Texas Christian in the 1952 Cotton Bowl. In 1982, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Parilli was a head coach in the World Football League, served as a National Football League assistant and coached in the Arena Football League.

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Source: New York Times

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