AFL Legend Babe Parilli Passes Away

autographed 1965 topps babe parilli

Babe Parilli, a quarterback who had and excellent career in the AFL with the Raiders, Patriots and Jets, after playing his first five seasons in the NFL, passed away today at the age of 87.  The Patriots website posted an article on Parilli.

Former Patriots QB Vito ‘Babe’ Parilli Passed Away

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

2 Responses to AFL Legend Babe Parilli Passes Away

  1. afl says:

    First things first: R.I.P. Patriots QB Babe Parilli. That said, on the subject Parilli (and other QBs and WRs the decade 1960’s, AFL & NFL), some interesting stat facts.

    Understanding some played all 10 years & others less, some started throughout while others sat bench until their chance came, Parilli threw more td passes in the 1960’s than the NFL’s Bart Starr, Don Meredith and Roman Gabriel, as well more than AFL Joe Namath, John Hadl & Daryle Lamonica. In fact, Parilli threw more td passes the 1960s than any QB not named Len Dawson, George Blanda, Johnny Unitas, Fran Tarkenton, John Brodie & Sonny Jurgensen – 5 of those 6 Hall of Fame QBs.

    Well sure a critic might say, that’s because AFL defenses were inferior. Yet, if one checks yards per catch averages of NFL wide receivers & their QB’s yards per attempt compared to AFL QBs & WRs same, one can argue NFL DBs were just as inferior – if not more so – than oft-denigrated AFL DB’s, and by extension, AFL WRs and QBs same, when compared their NFL brethren.

    Food for thought: Homer Jones had a higher ypc average in 3 full-time seasons than did Lance Alworth in his best ypc full season ever. Carroll Dale had 3 full seasons of 20+ ypc – so did Jimmy Orr – Alworth never did. Yet, not one of those 1960’s NFL WRs is in the Hall of Fame despite those gaudy stats theirs. Just who were those ‘superior’? DBs 1960’s NFL giving up all those big plays? So much for their being better than AFL DBs – and we haven’t even referenced multiple 20+ ypc seasons Bob Hayes and Paul Warfield.

    Of note, the pro QB’s with the highest yards per attempt averages in the 1960’s might surprise: Len Dawson at 8.04 and Bart Starr at 8.32 – two ‘game managers’ as it were, guys not renowned long passers yet both outdid the bomb throwers each league that era: Unitas, Namath, Jurgensen, Hadl, Meredith, Lamonica, Gabriel & Blanda (Tarkenton too trailed Dawson and Starr, though he like they was not revered as a long thrower.)

    An online story a few years ago provided stat research which seemed to affirm the NFL threw the ball just as much as did the AFL. True or no, one stat that may suggest the AFL threw more deep passes (or that NFL QBs may have been better passers): completion % each league’s QBs.

    1960’s AFL, Dawson was the only QB who finished well above 50% at 56.8%; Namath 50.2%, Hadl 49.5%, Lamonica 49.2%, Flores 48.9%, Blanda 48.5%, Parilli 47.4%. NFL, Jurgensen finished the decade at 59.3%, Starr 58.9% and Unitas at 55.3%… all those 1960’s NFL QBs are Hall of Famer’s as are the AFL’s Dawson, Namath & Blanda. Other NFL QBs were: YA Tittle 55.8%, Brodie 54.3%, Tarkenton 53.9%, Gabriel 51.5%, Meredith 50.7% & Frank Ryan 51.4%.

    Upshot: All to say, Babe Parilli was certainly no slouch as a QB, and compared to the relative ‘walk in the park’ game today’s QB’s benefit from re: rule changes variously that aid them (the ‘no bump’, ‘hands off’ QB protection and liberalized pass blocking among them), yesterday’s QBs retain a higher reverence this fan’s grading scale.

  2. afl says:

    Part of post was cut off: nod the more you throw (and throw deeper) the more likely you are to ring up interceptions. Of note, is little difference from AFL QBs to NFL QBs same, appears.

    Whether a bomb thrower or game manager type, every QB of note/tenure in the 1960’s had one or more seasons where they threw more ints than they did td passes:

    * Dawson 1 year, Tittle 1 year, Tarkenton 1 year + 1 tie.

    * Gabriel & Ryan both had 2 years each, Starr had 2 years + 1 tie

    *Jurgensen and Namath had 3 years each

    *Lamonica had 4 years, Unitas, Parilli, Hadl and Meredith each had 4 years + 1 tie

    *Brodie had 5 years and Blanda had 5 years + 1 tie.

    Of these 15 QBs the 1960’s, 9 played in the NFL & 6 played in the AFL… 8 of them are in the Hall of Fame, 3 via AFL and 5 via NFL.

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