All-time Kentucky great Vito 'Babe' Parilli passes away

Doug Mendoza
July 16, 2017

Former NFL and AFL quarterback Vito "Babe" Parilli reportedly passed away at the age of 87, according to NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He was a Super Bowl-winning signal caller as a member of the 1968 Jets, and member of the 1960s All-Decade Team.

While at Kentucky under Bryant, Parilli took United Kingdom football to new heights, including trips to three major bowls (Orange, Sugar and Cotton). In the 1952 draft, Green Bay selected the quarterback fourth overall out of Kentucky, where he was coached by Paul "Bear" Bryant. He also set a franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season for the Patriots with 31 in 1964.

During his career at UK, Parilli threw 50 touchdown passes and led the Wildcats to wins over Oklahoma in the 1950 Sugar Bowl and TCU in the 1951Cotton Bowl. Parilli's playing career ended with the Jets, where he won a ring as Joe Namath's backup in Super Bowl III. During his college years at the University of Kentucky, he was an All-American and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in 1950 and 1951. His career fluctuated as he was only in Green Bay for two seasons before heading to the Canadian Football League to play for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

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He was voted to three AFL All-Star games and was named the AFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 1966.

Parilli's love of football never waned, and after watching this year's national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, Parilli said, "Best game I ever saw in the college playoffs". He later became the head coach of the New York Stars and later the Chicago Winds of the World Football League.

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