Babe Parilli, Bear Bryant's first championship QB, dead at age 87


Former NFL and AFL quarterback Vito "Babe" Parilli reportedly passed away at the age of 87, according to NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He played 94 games for the franchise from 1961-67.

Vito "Babe" Parilli threw a pass in 1965.

When the AFL first emerged in 1960, Parilli jumped at the opportunity and joined the Boston Patriots, where he would spend the next seven seasons of his career playing quarterback for the team.

A pro with the Packers, Browns, Raiders and Jets, along with the Patriots, Parilli played his college ball for Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky.

Parilli lettered three years at quarterback for the Wildcats and set Kentucky records for touchdowns with 50, leading United Kingdom to wins over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and TCU in the Cotton Bowl.

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Parilli was the SEC Player of the Year in 1950, when he finished fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. The Green Bay Packers originally drafted the Kentucky product. His 31 touchdown passes in 1964 were a team record until 2007.

As a member of the New York Jets in 1968, Parilli backed up Joe Namath during Gang Green's Super Bowl run, throwing for 401 yards and five touchdowns during the campaign.

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".

After his playing days, Parilli got to work as a coach, spending a year as an assistant with the Steelers before becoming head coach of the New York Stars and later the Chicago Winds of the World Football League.