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Patriots Talk: Ex-Patriot Vito ‘The Babe’ Parilli Has Passed Away At 87

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Patriots Talk: Ex-Patriot Vito ‘The Babe’ Parilli Has Passed Away At 87

It’s an bright and sunny day here in New England, but sadly one of the original members of the Boston Patriots has left us on this beautiful day.

 

Former Boston Patriots quarterback Vito “The Babe” Parilli, has died at the age of 87. He was a Patriots Hall-of-Famer and member of the 1960s All-Decade Team,and was one of the biggest icons of the franchise when it was first created in 1960.

 

Parilli was born on May 7, 1930, in Rochester, Pennsylvania. During his college years at the University of Kentucky, he was an All-American and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in 1950 and 1951. Parilli has been regarded as one of the greatest to have ever played for the Kentucky Wildcats and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

He was the fourth overall pick in the 1952 NFL draft, and was selected by the Green Bay Packers. 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. Parilli was in a football limbo for eight years as he wandered from Ottawa, Cleveland, Green Bay and never was able to find his place within the sport.

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. He played in 94 games for the Patriots from 1961-67 throwing for over 16,747 yards and 132 touchdown passes (which places him at fourth all-time with the team for both).

He was voted to three AFL All-Star games (1963-64 and 1966) and earned the AFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1966. Parilli held the Patriots record for touchdown passes with 31 in 1964, which stood for over 43 years before it was broken by Tom Brady in 2007.

In addition to his skills as a quarterback, Parilli became well-known as an excellent holder for special teams and earned the nickname “Gold Finger.” The combination of the holder & quarterback Vito Parilli and kicker & wide receiver Gino Cappelletti, made them a deadly force that became known as the “Grand Opera.” In 1982, Parilli was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his collegiate career under Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky and in 1993, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

We send out our condolences to Parilli’s family and friends, who are mourning as we have all lost a Patriot on this day.

Stephen is a Contributing Editor for Trifecta Sports Network and covers the New England Patriots and the NFL.

New England Patriots

Patriots Have A Two-Headed Monster In BackField

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Following an embarrassing week 1 loss, the Patriots returned to the field seeking redemption. They trounced the New Orleans Saints 36-20, this past Sunday. Ah, sweet misplaced aggression. From Bill Belichick’s offense, we saw a multi-faceted passing attack that was redolent of the good ol’ days.

Tom Brady stood immovably strong in the pocket, going through his progressions with laser-like precision. We saw him make crafty check-downs to receivers manifold. An unleashed Rob Gronkowski ran crossing routes like a human-boulder, tearing the Saints secondary to shreds. It all made for a beautiful sight to see.

As prolifically as Tom Brady threw the football, it was the effectiveness of our running backs that was most surprising. In this department, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hit the Saints with a dual-pronged weapon. Power runner Mike Gillislee scored his 4th rushing TD of the season, while finesse halfback James White pulled in 8 receptions for 85 yards. In tandem, they were absolutely dynamic. And with all our injuries, we’re going to need them to be just that going forwards.

The continued performance of this two-headed monster will arguably be the most critical thing to the Patriots’ success this year. White and Gillislee, early on, have mirrored each other in a productive manner. But beware: The utilization of this duo could become rather calculable. Our one-two punch is going to have to learn to play outside of their respective comfort-zones.

A Tale of Two Tailbacks

When appraising the Patriots backfield, Mike Gillislee and James White should be viewed as a single entity. There’s a mutually beneficial marriage between these two players. They are polar-opposites, who collaborate to produce a formidable rushing attack.

Disclaimer: Some may say that I am negligent to not mention the contributions from Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. But if this backfield was a cheeseburger, Lewis and Burkhead would merely be the condiments that make it taste just a tad better. There’s no doubt that Gillislee and White are the featured athletes here.

As many Patriots fans would admit, calling James White a “running back” is sort of inappropriate. This is his formal title, yes, but it’s a misnomer of a title. Go back and watch last year’s Super Bowl. White should just be listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart. That’s what we’ve always used him as. In the absence of Julian Edelman, he may be our most dependable option on passing 3rd-downs.

This year, White is on track to haul in 88 receptions for 920 yards, while racking up an additional 392 rushing yards. That type of production would be invaluable. His hands are immeasurably better than any other RB’s on this Patriots team. Opposing defenses cannot commit to defending one facet of his game or the other, at least so far. But on Sunday afternoon, we saw a pattern being established.

Chances are, if White’s on the field, Tom Brady is going to be throwing the football. It’s no secret. James White has only 12 rushing attempts, this season. Here is where Mike Gillislee comes in. He’s the jelly to White’s peanut butter; the ying to his yang.

Gillislee is off to a fast start, with his new team. He is a virtual inversion of James White. Gillislee is a durable smashmouth back, who acts as a battering ram on the goal line and on rushing downs. Currently, he’s on track for 912 rushing yards and 32 rushing TD’s.

But again there is an appreciable formula, in regards to how Mike Gillislee is leveraged. This is something that will not be overlooked by our future opponents. Since the start of last year, Gillislee has 0 receptions. That’s right, a big fat goose egg. When Gillislee is on the field, 99% of the time he’s going to be hitting his holes as the running play is designed.

Variety is the Spice of Life

It’s odd that both White and Gillislee play such singular roles, because they are physically comparable. James White is slightly more compact, at 5’9” 204 lbs. Mike Gillislee is a rugged 5’11” 208 lbs. But concerning their speed, they’re almost interchangeable. Just look at their 40-yard dash times. White runs a 4.57, while Gillislee runs a 4.55. This is encouraging: They should be able to learn how to imitate each other.

Bill Belichick doesn’t allow any of his players to become complacent. Such comfort could compromise the Patriots playbook. In the coming weeks, look for Mike Gillislee to be a part of more passing formations, and for James White to run the ball more frequently. The Pats have to keep their opponents honest and unprepared.

A live-action attrition has been induced in the Patriots’ leading receivers. Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski are currently banged-up. Whether these guys are sidelined or active, the Patriots will be using them minimally. Hence the importance of the running game. Our backfield, with James White and Mike Gillislee at the helm, will certainly be carrying more of the load than anyone expected.

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Who Is New England’s NFC Rival?

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New England hasn’t started off the greatest thus far this year. That comes as no surprise, however. The Patriots have had multiple rough starts in past years and still went to the big show and won it all. So, even though New England isn’t going to go undefeated, as many hoped, Tom Brady and company are still likely to be in yet another Super Bowl this year. But who will they play? What NFC team this year has what it takes to give the Pats a rival in this year’s Super Bowl?

How about the Detroit Lions? With the highest paid NFL player on the roster, quarterback Matthew Stafford has led his team to two victories so far and the Lions remain the only team in the NFC North to be undefeated. Detroit looks to be a contender all year-long. They upset the New York Giants on Monday Night with the win on the road. The biggest challenge for Detroit, however, will come Sunday when the Lions face last year’s Super Bowl losers, the Atlanta Falcons.

Are the Falcons tough enough to return to the big game? Matt Ryan is healthy as ever and Atlanta and their explosive offense are getting the job done. They also are undefeated going into week three. Devonte Freeman and Julias Jones are on top of their game. With the way they toppled the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Falcons have a good start to returning to the Super Bowl again this year.

The Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons play this Sunday. Could this be a preview of this year’s NFC Championship Game? Is one of these two teams going to be a rival for the New England Patriots in this year’s Superbowl? Granted, this is only week two and there is a lot more weeks of football left to play out. I believe that either the Lions or the Falcons could be the team to give us a good show and a close game against the New England Patriots in a great Super Bowl.

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Patriots Win Means It Is Business As Usual

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The New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 36-20 on Sunday to pick up their first win of the season. The win brings the Patriots record to 1-1. Notching this win against Drew Brees and crew means it is business as usual at Gillette Stadium.

Despite having some players knocked around the Patriots offense showcased a number of different looks and was very effective against a piss poor Saints defense.

New England attacked the Saints defense with their running backs starting the game with a power style of running behind fullback James Develin. Like CBS color analyst Tony Romo pointed out, this style felt old school 2001 Patriots. This allowed the Patriots to run the ball right at the Saints front seven and then later open up the field in the passing game.

With the wideouts being battered, Tom Brady relied on his receiving backs like James White who snagged 8 catches, and Rex Burkhead who had 4 catches of his own including an opening drive touchdown catch. Brady also relied heavily on tight end Rob Gronkowski who had 6 catches en route to 116 yards and a 53-yard touchdown on the second Patriots drive of the day.

The first quarter was the one of note for Brady as all three of his passing touchdowns on the day game in the first quarter. it was the first time in the future hall of famers career that he had a first quarter with three passing touchdowns. His final line of the day was 30-39 with 447 passing yards. This was the 10th time in his career that he has eclipsed the 400+ passing yard marker.

Defensively the Patriots held a Sean Payton offense to 20 points. A solid effort with the defense limiting the big plays that cost them in their first game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

While it was key not to overreact to the Patriots week 1 loss, it is also important to not overreact to their week 2 win. The Saints defense is bad, really bad. And the Patriots are truly battered at the receiver position with now Gronk and Burkhead dealing with injuries in addition to Julian Edelman who is out for the year along with Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola who will return at some point.

Brandin Cooks, the newly acquired receiver was quite against his former team. To me, the injuries paired with Cooks lack of a breakout game is still a concerning matter. But seeing the Patriots defense remain strong and hold Brees and the Saints to 20 points is huge.

Eyes must now point forward to next Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Texans.

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