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Rochester grad, ex-Patriots QB Babe Parilli dies at age 87

| Saturday, July 15, 2017, 7:03 p.m.
Rochester graduate Vito 'Babe' Parilli poses for a photo during New York Jets training camp in 1969. Parilli, the former Patriots quarterback who starred in the team's American Football League days, died Saturday, July 15, 2017. He was 87. New England announced the death. The cause of death wasn't disclosed. He was the backup to Joe Namath when the Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969.

Rochester High School graduate Babe Parilli, the former Patriots quarterback who starred in the team's American Football League days, died Saturday. He was 87.

New England announced the death. The cause wasn't disclosed.

Parilli played for the then-Boston Patriots from 1961-67. He was voted to three AFL All-Star games and was the AFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 1966.

Parilli was named to the All-AFL 10 Year Anniversary Team in 1971, and his 31 touchdown passes in 1964 were a team record until 2007. Parilli is fourth on the Patriots' career passing list with 16,747 yards and is in the team's Hall of Fame. He also was known as an excellent holder and was nicknamed “gold finger.”

He began his pro career with the Green Bay Packers in 1952 and also played for the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders. He was the backup to Joe Namath when the Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969.

Parilli was born close to Namath's hometown of Beaver Falls. Parilli and Namath played under coach Bear Bryant in college, Parilli at Kentucky and Namath at Alabama. Parilli led Kentucky to victories over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl and TCU in the '52 Cotton Bowl. In 1982, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Parilli was a head coach in the World Football League, served as an NFL assistant and coached in the Arena Football League.

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