Snubbed by the NFL, Cappelletti set records and led scoring in the AFL.
Gino Cappelletti was born March 26, 1934, in Keewatin, Minnesota. He was a quarterback and kicker for the University of Minnesota and, after graduating in 1955, tried out for the NFL. Cappelletti failed to make the Detroit Lions, but found himself playing Canadian football in 1958.
In 1960, Cappelletti joined the newly formed AFL with the Boston Patriots. He kicked the first field goal in AFL history in the Patriots’ opening game against the Denver Broncos. Cappelletti led the AFL in scoring in 1961.
The Patriots also used Cappelletti as a wide receiver in his earlier years with the team, and he was named AFL player of the year in 1964, after scoring 155 points catching seven touchdown passes and kicking 25 field goals – and 38 extra points.
He led the AFL in scoring again from 1963-1966, racking up more than 100 points for six straight seasons from 1961-1966. During his 11 seasons, Cappelletti caught 292 passes for 4,589 yards – a 15.7 average – and 42 touchdowns. He also kicked 342 of 353 extra point attempts and made 176 of 333 field goal attempts for a total of 1,130 points. During his career, he was selected to seven All-Pro teams.
Cappelletti retired in 1970 and became a radio commentator for the Patriots’ radio network. He was named to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.