Thursday, July 16, 2009

The ALMOST All-Time New England Patriots Offense

QUARTERBACK : Babe Parilli

Babe was the Green Bay Packers first round draft choice in the 1952 draft, the fourth player chosen overall.

Parilli spent his first two seasons with the Packers mostly serving as a backup, though he did start in nine games total.

He was also the punter in his rookie year, with a career best 65 attempts at a 40.7 average.

He tossed the longest pass in the NFL during his rookie year, a career best 90 yards. He also led the NFL with an 18.7 yards gained per completion.

He mostly struggled during those first two seasons, throwing 36 interceptions against 17 touchdowns. He also punted the ball just 19 times in his second year.

The Packers would trade him to the Cleveland Browns for the 1956 season.

In his lone season in Cleveland, he started three of the five games he played. He ended back with the Packers the next year.

He lasted two more years with Green Bay, serving as a backup. He then bolted for the Canadian Football League to play with the Ottawa Rough Riders for the 1959 season.

The AFL started up in 1960, and Parilli joined the Oakland Raiders. While there, he backed up future Raiders coach Tom Flores. He did start two games, and won one game.

In the offseason, the Raiders and Patriots completed a five player trade, and Parilli ended up in Boston.

He started eight games that season, and led the AFL with a 52.5 completion percentage. The Patriots would go on to play in the AFL Championship Game, but lose.

In 1962, Parilli started in all ten games he played, tossing 18 touchdowns versus eight interceptions. His 3.2 interception percentage led the AFL. The Patriots finished their season 10-3-1, the best record the team had until 1976.

Now the Patriots starting quarterback, Parilli made his first Pro Bowl in 1963.

He repeated that honor the next year, when he led the AFL with a career best 3,465 yards passing.

He also led the AFL with 31 touchdown passes, a franchise record that stood until Tom Brady broke it in the 2007 season.

His 247.5 passing yards per game led the AFL, as did his 27 interceptions. He also punted the ball the last five times of his career.

In one game that season, versus Oakland, Parilli threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns.

Parilli was named to his last Pro Bowl in 1966, where he ended up being named the games MVP.

He started in eleven games the next year, and tossed an AFL long pass of 79 yards. He then joined the New York Jets.

While with the Jets, he backed up Hall Of Famer Joe Namath for two seasons. His primary duty was as a holder on kicks. It a skill he was so good at,that he was dubbed " Gold Finger".

He earned a Super Bowl ring in 1968, when the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts. He retired after the 1969 season.

His team records have all been surpassed, except his 27 interception season. That mark was equaled by Drew Bledsoe in 1994.

Real Patriot fans know of "The Grand Opera". This was from the teamwork that Parilli and Gino Cappelletti had in the passing and kicking game.

Parilli is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team, and is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame.

Babe Parilli is one of the best to have ever taken the field in a Patriots uniform, and he is one of just 20 players to have played in every game of the AFL's existence.

Steve Grogan, Drew Bledsoe, and Mike Taliaferro all deserve mention.

FULLBACK : Jim Nance

Jim was drafted in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the 45th player chosen, and in the 19th round by the Patriots in the AFL Draft, the 151st player chosen.

He elected to join the Patriots, and spent his rookie year mostly blocking. He carried the ball 111 times, scoring five times.

Nance broke loose the next year, leading the AFL with 299 carries for 1,458 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 1,561 total yards, and an average of 104.1 yards rushing per game.

All were career highs, as was his 4.9 yards per carry average, and his 65 yard run that season.

He was named the AFL Most Valuable Player, and went to the Pro Bowl.

Nance led the AFL again the following year with 269 carries for 1,216 yards. His 86.7 yards rushing per game also led the league, and he scored eight touchdowns. One came off a reception, the only time he ever scored via the air.

He was named to his final Pro Bowl that year.

Nance is the only AFL player to have run for over 1,400 yards, and to have consecutive seasons of rushing for over a thousand yards.

He missed two games because of injury in 1968, but managed to carry the ball 177 times and scoring five times.

Nance led the AFL with 193 carries the next season, and scored six times. He was named the AFL Comeback Player Of The Year that season.

He scored seven times the next year, and five in 1971.

He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after that year, but opted to retire instead.

He came back to the NFL in 1973, joining the New York Jets. He carried the ball 18 times for 78 yards over a span on seven games.

In 1974, the World Football League was starting up. Nance decided to join the Houston Texans. The Texans would later become the Shreveport Steamers towards the end of their first season.

Nance ran for 1,240 yards that year in 20 games, then ran for 767 yards the following season in 12 games. The WFL folded before the season could be completed.

His 2,007 yards on 490 carries is the most in WFL history.

Jim Nance ran for 45 touchdowns with the Patriots, and this is still the most in franchise history.

He is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team.

Jim Nance is considered by many to be the best running back in Patriots history.

Sam "The Bam" Cunningham was seriously considered. He is still the Patriots franchise rushing yards leader, and retired with the most total touchdowns scored by a Patriots player.

Mosi Tatupu was a good player who excelled also on special teams. He made the Pro Bowl once, and led the NFL in yards rushing per attempt in 1983.

HALFBACK : Larry Garron

Garron joined the Patriots in 1960 as an undrafted free agent rookie.

He only carried the ball eight times that season, playing in four games.

Garron exploded in the AFL in 1961. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 86 attempts, including a career long 85 yard run. He caught 24 passes, and scored six times total.

One of his touchdowns came on a 89 yard kickoff return. Garron was named to the Pro Bowl.

He stood 6' and weighed 195 lbs, but the Patriots moved him to fullback for the 1962 season. H averaged a career high 5.9 yards per carry on 67 attempts, and caught 18 balls. He scored six times.

One of his touchdowns came on a career long 95 yard kickoff return, the last of his career. He returned 26 kickoffs at an impressive 28.6 yards per return average.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1963, after he ran for a career high 750 yards on 175 carries. He also caught 26 balls and scored four times. He took one pass for a career long 76 yards.

Garron returned a career high 28 kickoffs that year, at a 24.8 yards per return average. He also returned the only punt of his career 23 yards.

His 1,884 total yards led the AFL in 1963.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1964, after catching a career high 40 balls for seven touchdowns. He also ran for 585 yards on a career high 183 carries, scoring twice.

Though Garron returned ten kickoffs that year, he would only return nine more for the rest of his career.

He was moved back to halfback in 1965, and he ran the ball 74 times and caught 15 passes.

Though the bulk of the work was going to AFL MVP Jim Nance, Garron managed to run the ball 101 times and catch 30 passes in 1966. He scored nine times.

The 1967 season was the last time Garron would be named to the Pro Bowl. He caught 30 balls at an impressive 16.9 yards per catch average, and ran 47 times. He scored five times.

His last year in football was 1968. He played just four games. He ran the ball 36 times, and scored the last touchdown of his career.

Babe Parilli once said Garron was the best pass catching back he ever saw play. Garron's career average of 13.5 yards per reception on 185 catches and 26 touchdowns caught show his excellence.

His four Pro Bowls are the most by any Patriots running back in franchise history.

Larry Garron is a member of the Patriots Al-Time 1960's team as both a running back and return specialist.

John Stephens, Carl Garrett, Craig James, Robert Edwards, and Curtis Martin all deserve mention.

WIDE RECEIVER : Stanley Morgan

Stanley was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1977, the 25th player chosen overall.

He started right away, catching 21 passes for 443 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 16 punts for 220 yards.

In the 1978 season, Morgan averaged a whopping 24.1 yards per catch on 34 receptions and scored five times. He also returned a career high 32 punts for 335 yards.

He was the top deep threat in the NFL then, and his next three seasons showed exactly that. He led the NFL in yards per catch each of those years.

He led the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions in 1979, getting 1,002 yards on 44 catches. He also scored on an 80 yard punt return, on 29 attempts.

He was named to his first Pro Bowl that year, and would garner the same honor the very next season in 1980. He had 45 catches for 991 yards and six scores.

Morgan was hurt for three games the next season, but he was able to snare 44 balls for 1, 029 yards and six touchdowns.

Though he had 58 catches in 1983, he had career lows of two touchdowns and a 14.9 yards per catch average. He had 78 catches at a 19 yard per catch average, with ten touchdowns, over the next two seasons.

The 1985 season saw the Patriots advance to Super Bowl XX, where he caught six passes in the loss.

Morgan returned to the Pro Bowl in 1986, after catching a career high 84 passes for 1,491 yards. He also scored ten times.

He made his last Pro Bowl in the strike shortened season of 1987. He had 40 receptions and three touchdowns in ten games.

After 31 receptions the next year, Morgan missed six games in 1989. He had 28 receptions, and scored three times. The Patriots then released him.

He joined the Indianapolis Colts for the 1990 season. Used mostly as an extra receiver, caught 23 balls and scored five times. He then retired.

Morgan's 67 touchdowns are the most in Patriots history, as is hid 10, 352 yards receiving. His 534 receptions were a team record until Troy Brown passed him by 23 in 2006.

Morgans 1,491 yards receiving in 1986 was a team record until Randy Moss passed it by two yards in 2007.

His 84 receptions in 1986 was a team record until Ben Coates surpassed it in 1994, and is still ranked the ninth most in New England history.

Stanley is a future CCC profilee, and I am hopeful he soon gets his respect and is inducted into Canton soon.

Stanley Morgan is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, the Patriots All-Time 1970's Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1980's Team.

I had to put him on this team, because he is easily the greatest wide receiver in Patriots history. The fact that he averaged 19.4 yards per catch on 554 receptions is more than truly incredible.


Troy was drafted by the Patriots in the eighth round in 1993, the 198th player chosen overall.

He was used mainly as a return specialist his first two seasons. He caught two passes in the 21 games he played, while returning 49 punts and 16 kickoffs over that time.

Brown had 14 receptions in 1995, while returning a career high 31 kickoffs. He had 21 receptions the next year, while returning 29 kickoffs. He also returned a fumble 75 yards for the first touchdown of his career.

Now in his fifth year in the NFL, Brown became a bigger part of the Patriots passing game. He accumulated 41 receptions and scored the first six receiving touchdowns of his career.

He had an injury plagued 1998 season, catching 23 balls for a score, and returning 17 punts.

He caught 36 balls for a score the next year, and returned 38 punts. He also returned eight kickoffs for a career best 33.9 return average. He would return just three kickoffs the rest of his career.

Brown returned a career high 39 punts in 2000, scoring once on a 66 yard return. He also caught 83 balls for 944 yards and four touchdowns.

The 2001 season was Brown's best year in the NFL, and he made his only Pro Bowl that year. He caught 101 passes for 1,199 yards, both career high marks, and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball a career best 11 times for 91 yards.

Brown led the NFL with a 14.2 yards per punt return average in that 1991 season. He also led the NFL with two touchdowns returned off of punt returns. He took one a career long 85 yards.

His importance to New England was evident, as he led them to a Super Bowl appearance when he returned a punt for a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game. He also gathered a blocked punt, and lateraled it to a Antwan Harris for a score.

The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Brown excelled the next year as well, catching 97 passes and scoring three times. He also 24 punts.

His last year as the Patriots primary punt returner was in 2003. He missed four games due to injury, yet he took 29 returns for 293 yards. His role as a receiver was reduced, as he gathered in 40 balls. One reception went for a career long 82 yards.

His contributions helped the Patriots eventually win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

New England would repeat as champions the next year, and Brown's legend grew in that season. Despite missing four games because of injuries, his value spoke volumes.

Though he caught just 17 balls and one touchdown, he was asked to play cornerback when New England's secondary was decimated by injury.

Brown intercepted three passes, and returned them for 22 yards. He also recovered two fumbles.

Injuries cost Brown three games in 2005, but he was able to catch 39 passes and score twice.

In 2006, he caught the last 43 balls of his career, and scored four times. He also caused a turnover at a crucial junction of a playoff game, which allowed the Patriots to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Though Brown was on the Patriots roster in 2007, he appeared in just one game and contributed no statistics. He retired after that season.

Troy's 557 receptions are the most in Patriots history, and his 6,366 receiving yards are the second most.

His 252 punt returns for 2,625 yards and three scores are the most in franchise history.

I expect Troy Brown to soon be named to the Patriots Hall Of Fame, because he is one of the best football players in the teams history.

Gino Cappelletti surely deserves mention. Ron Sellers also deserves a nod, as does Art Graham, Terry Glenn, Randy Vataha, Shawn Jefferson, Irving Fryar, and Jim Colclough.

TIGHT END : Ben Coates

Ben was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 1991 draft, the 121st player chosen overall.

He was brought along slowly in his first two seasons. catching 30 total passes and four touchdowns.

Business began to pick up for Coates in 2003, when Bill Parcells was named head coach of the Patriots. Parcells had a rookie quarterback in Drew Bledsoe, and is known for his wanting to get the tight end heavily involved in the offensive scheme.

Coates grabbed 53 balls, and scored eight times that season.

He led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in 1995, after setting an NFL record of 96 receptions by a tight end. This record stood until 2004.

He also gained 1,174 yards and scored eight times. Though the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl, Coates scored a touchdown on six receptions.

He was named First Team All-NFL, and went to his first Pro Bowl.

Coates followed that up with 84 catches in 1996, scoring six times. He again was named First Team All-NFL, and went the Pro Bowl.

Coates had a career best nine touchdowns the next season, on 62 receptions, and took one pass a career long 84 yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl again.

He went back to the Pro Bowl in 1998, catching 66 passes and scoring eight times.

His last Pro Bowl year was in 1999, when he caught 67 balls and scored six times.

Coates last year with the Patriots was in 2000. He caught 32 balls, and scored the last two touchdowns of his career.

The Patriots cut him, so he signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Coates was used as a backup that year, catching nine passes, as the Ravens would go on to win Super Bowl XXXV. He then retired.

His 490 receptions with New England is the most by any tight end in Patriots history, as is his 5,471 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Ben Coates is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the NFL 1990's All-Decade Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1990's Team.

Jim Whalen, Russ Francis, Marv Cook were all Pro Bowl players, and deserve mention.

CENTER : Jon Morris

Jon was drafted in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, the 27th player chosen overall, and in the fourth round of the AFL Draft by the Patriots, the 29th player chosen overall.

He opted to play with the Patriots, and started right away. He made the Pro Bowl his rookie year, and was named the Patriots Rookie Of The Year.

Morris would begin a string of seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances that year, and he was named First Team All-Pro in 1966.

He was injured in 1972, missing one game and breaking his 124 consecutive games played and started streak.

After starting the first two games in 1973, he was injured for the rest of the year and was able to suit up for just three games the following season.

The Patriots released him after that year, so he joined the Detroit Lions.

Morris would end up starting all 42 games the Lions played over the next three seasons. He then joined the Chicago Bears for the 1978 season, and played as a reserve for ten games. He then retired.

Jon's seven Pro Bowls are the second most in Patriots franchise history, behind Hall Of Famer John Hannah's nine games.

He is a member of the American Football League All- Time Team, behind Hall Of Famer Jim Otto, and is the only Patriots offensive player to garner this award.

He is a member of the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team.

Though his jersey won't ever be retired, because it is the same number as Hall Of Famer Andre Tippett, I find it absolutely amazing he has yet to be put into the Patriots Hall Of Fame.

Jon Morris is far and away the best center in Patriots history, and might be the second best offensive lineman they ever had.

GUARD : Charley Long

Charley was the Patriots eighth round draft pick in 1961, the 58th player chosen overall. He started his career at offensive tackle on the left side, and became a starter.

He made the Pro Bowl in 1962, the first Patriots offensive tackle to ever achieve this honor.

The Patriots moved him to guard on the left side the next year, and he would remain there for the rest of his career. He also went back to the Pro Bowl in that 1964 season.

Long continued to man that spot until 1967. He then started in three of the thirteen games he played in during the 1968 season and decided to retire.

Charley Long is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's team, though he is listed at offensive tackle on that team.

GUARD : Billy Neighbors

Billy was drafted in the sixth round of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Patriots, the 46th player chosen overall, and in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, the 43rd player chosen overall.

He started immediately for the Patriots and was in the Pro Bowl by his second season.

Neighbors was named First Team All-AFL in 1964, and stayed with the Patriots until the end of the 1965 season.

He joined the Miami Dolphins in 1966, and started in ten of the fourteen games he played.

After starting in each of the next two seasons, Neighbors started in five games in 1969.

He then retired from the game.

Billy Neighbors is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team, and he is the first Patriots lineman to ever be named First Team All Pro.

Lee St. Jean and Charley Leo deserve mention, and were Pro Bowl players. Sam Adams was also an excellent player.

TACKLE : Brian Holloway

Brian was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1981, the 19th played picked overall that year.

He played mostly as a reserve his rookie year, but did start in five games. He then would start in every game he played in New England for the rest of his career.

Holloway made his first Pro Bowl in 1983, and would achieve this honor twice more until 1985.

He helped the Patriots reach Super Bowl XX in 1985, where they would lose.

His last year with the Patriots was in 1986, and he caught the only pass of his career for five yards. He was named by the Newspaper Ent. Association to their All-NFL First team.

He joined the Raiders in 1987, and started in eight of the twelve games he played. He then played in two games the next year and retired.

Brian Halloway is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1980's Team.

Don Oakes and Tom Neville were Pro Bowl players, and deserve mention.

TACKLE : Bruce Armstrong

Bruce was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1987, the 23rd player chosen overall.

He would start in all twelve games he played in his rookie year, as well as start in every game he played in during his career.

He made his first Pro Bowl in 1990, and would repeat that honor the next year.

Armstrong suffered a knee injury eight games into 1992, and missed the rest of the season. Those would be the last games he ever missed for the rest of his career.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1994, and would repeat this honor the next four seasons until 1997.

He helped lead the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in 1995, where they lost.

Bruce manned the Left Offensive Tackle position until 2000, when he retired.

His six Pro Bowls are the third most in Patriots history.

He has had his jersey retired, and is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1990's Team.

Bruce Armstrong is the best offensive tackle in Patriots history.

Leon Gray was a young two time Pro Bowler who deserves mention. He would get traded, after a salary dispute, to the Houston Oilers and open holes for Hall Of Fame Running Back Earl Campbell.

KICKER : Gino Cappelletti

I easily could have plugged in Gino at WR, but decided to put his versatility here.

Gino Raymond Michael Cappelletti went the long route to the Patriots as a free agent in 1960. After college, Gino went to Canada and played rugby in the Ontario Rugby Football Union until 1956.

He was then drafted, and served, in the U.S. Army until 1958.

Gino then joined the Canadian Football League and played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders. After being cut by the Roughriders, Gino rejoined the rugby league until 1960.

The Boston Patriots and American Football League were born in 1960, and Gino made the team as a 26 year old rookie.

The Patriots made good use of Cappelletti's versatility. He played cornerback and placekicker mainly in his rookie season, intercepting four passes for 68 yards, and scoring 54 points kicking.

He intercepted three passes in one game off of future NFL coach Tom Flores.

Coaching great Lou Saban then moved Gino to wide receiver the next season. Cappelletti responded with his Pro Bowl season.

He caught 45 receptions for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. He also threw the only pass of his career, which went for a 27 yard touchdown.

He led the AFL with 32 field goal attempts and 17 conversions, while making 48 of 50 extra points. He scored a total of 147 points that year, which was a record at the time.

In 1962, Gino scored 98 points kicking, and snagged 34 balls for five scores.

Gino's next season saw him snare 34 passes for two touchdowns, while accruing 101 points kicking. He led the AFL with the AFL with 38 field goal attempts and 22 makes, and made his second All Pro squad.

He led the AFL with 39 field goal attempts and 25 makes in 1964, while scoring 116 points kicking. Gino also had a career best 49 receptions and 865 yards, while finding the end zone seven times.

His 155 total points that year was his career best, and Gino earned his third All Pro team award. Gino's 155 points were, at the time, the second most in Pro Football history, surpassing his 1961 total. Gino Cappelleti was named the 1964 AFL Player of the Year.

In 1965, Gino scored a career high nine touchdowns on 37 catches. His 18.7 yards per catch average was also a career best. He also led the AFL in field goal percentage, and made the All Pro team again.

Gino made his last All Pro team in 1966. He caught 43 passes for six scores, while taking one pass for a career best 63 yards.

The 1967 season was Gino's last year to be used a lot as a receiver. He caught 35 passes for three scores. He caught 13 balls the next season for last two touchdowns of his career.

Gino did catch one pass for 21 yards in 1969, but mainly was used as a kicker.

Cappelletti was 36 years old in 1970, as the Patriots joined the NFL. Used only as a kicker that year, he scored the last 40 points of his career.

He retired after that season with 292 receptions for 4,489 yards and 42 touchdowns.

He is still third in Patriots history for career receptions and yards.

His 1,130 points were a Patriots record until Adam Vinatieri surpassed it in 2005.

His jersey was retired by the Patriots, and he is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade Team, and the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Gino Cappelletti is a symbol of determination, perseverance, and versatility.

He is the only player to have averaged 7.5 points a game over an 11 year career. He once averaged 9.6 points a game over a six year period, which no other player has ever done either.

His 1961 and 1964 seasons still rank in the top 10 for the most points scored in a season. The fact that Gino accomplished these feats in 14 game seasons make it even more impressive.

Gino led the AFL in scoring five times, which is tied for the most times ever that a player has led a league in scoring.

He led the AFL in scoring four consecutive seasons, which is the second best streak in pro football history.

Gino is the only player in the history of professional football history to to run for a 2 point conversion, throw a pass for a 2 point conversion, catch a pass, intercept a pass, return a punt and a kickoff in the same season.

He is tied with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most career points scored in AFL All Star Games, and is one of only two AFL Kickers to kick at least four field goals in a game for three consecutive games.

He is the second player in AFL history to have picked off 3 passes in a game, and set the AFL record by scoring 28 points in a game.

He has attempted the most field goals in Patriots history, and is is amongst the AFL's all-time top ten receivers in yards and in receptions.

He accomplished this during a ten year span where the Patriots played on four "home" fields throughout the New England area, making his accomplishments even more amazing.

Nicknamed "The Duke" by his team mates, Gino often teamed up with Patriots legendary QB Babe Parilli. This connection was dubbed the "Grand Opera."

Gino is one of only three players to have played in every game of their franchises games while a member of the AFL, and one of only 20 to have played in every game in AFL history.

The fact that he has not yet been inducted into Canton reeks of NFL envy.

As I have stated in past profilings of AFL greats, there is an obvious exclusion of AFL players by the NFL.

I keep screaming that this is the PRO Football Hall Of Fame, NOT JUST the NFL H.O.F.!

Gino Cappelletti should have been inducted into Canton years ago!

It is up to us fans to remind the voters that the AFL counts, was important, and should never be forgotten. No matter how hard they seem to try.

Adam Vinatieri, John Smith, and Tony Franklin all were Pro Bowl players and deserve mention.

Vinatieri is the Patriots leader in points scored, surpassing Gino by 28 points in his last year in New England in 2005.

Smith is still ranked third on the teams scoring list, and is best known for the snow plow incident in a 1982 win versus the Dolphins. Smith played in the first American football game he ever saw with the Patriots, the only known player to have even done so in NFL history.

PUNTER : Rich Camarillo

Camarillo is the only punter in Patriots history to be named to the Pro Bowl, an honor he garnered in 1983.

He joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent rookie in 1981, and punted 45 times in nine games. One punt went 75 yards, which led the NFL.

He punted in nine games in 1982, due to the players strike, and had a career long 76 yard punt on 49 attempts.

Camarillo led the NFL with a 70 yard punt, on 81 attempts, and was named to the Pro Bowl squad. He led the NFL with a 75 yard punt in 1985, as well as leading the NFL with 3,953 yards punted. His 44.6 yards per punt that season was a career best.

The 1986 season was a rough one for Camarillo. He had a career high three punts blocked, which led the NFL. He left the Patriots after the 1987 season to join the Los Angelos Rams for one season.

Camarillo joined the Phoenix Cardinals in 1989, and led the NFL with a punting average of 43.4. He was named to the Pro Bowl Team for his efforts.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1991, and would accomplish this honor up until the 1993 season. He attempted the only extra point of his career in 1992, and missed.

Camarillo joined the Houston Oilers in 1994, and led the NFL with a career best 4,115 yards on a career high 96 punts. He left the Oilers after the 1995 season, and joined the Oakland Raiders for one game in 1996. After accumulating no statistics in that game, he retired.

Camarillo averaged an impressive 42.7 yards per punt on 1,027 attempts, and ended up with 43,895 yards in his career.

His five Pro Bowls are the second most by any punter in NFL history.

He once punted the ball eleven times in a game during the 1984 season, which is tied as the most in Patriots history for a single game. His 479 yards yards punted that day is a Patriots record.

His career average of 44.5 yards per punt in the playoffs is still an NFL record, and his 279 punts inside the 20 yard line was a record when he retired.

His 468 punts for 19,922 yards are easily the most in Patriots history.

Shawn McCarthy's 93 yard punt in 1991 is the third longest in NFL history, and deserves mention.


Raymond Clayborn may be the best kickoff return specialist in Patriots history, returning three for touchdowns on just 57 attempts over three seasons, but we have him rightfully at cornerback on this team. Hobbs is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, so he wins this spot.

Hobbs returned one kickoff 108 yards for a score, which is an NFL record.

In his first two years in New England, Hobbs returned just 25 kickoffs. He took one for a 93 yard score.

He became the primary returner in 2007, and scored on his record setting jaunt. He also returned a fumble recovery for a score as a cornerback.

The 2008 season was his last as a Patriot. He has a career best 1,281 yards on 45 attempts. He averaged an excellent 28.5 yards per return, and scored on a 95 yard return.

His 2,913 career return yards are the second most in franchise history, and 1,031 yards behind Kevin Faulk. His 105 returns is tied for third most in franchise history with Dave Meggett, and 70 less than Faulk's franchise leading 175 returns.

His career average of 27.1 yards per return is the best in franchise history for anyone with over thirty career returns, and his three touchdowns is tied with Clayborn as the most ever in Patriots history.

Meggett, Larry Garron, Faulk, Mack Herron, Bethel Johnson, and Jon Vaughn all deserve mention as well.

Though this is a very tough spot to pick, I gave it to Hobbs. Almost by default, considering the Patriots have never had a kickoff return specialist excel over a long period of time.


afrankangle said...

Dang! There's some serious work here.

Love it... Nance was a bruiser and I like the receivers. But I especially appreciate the Babe Parilli info. I recall his AFL-Patriot days, but didn't know his prior journey nor that he was on the Jets with Namath.

Great post!

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