FOXBOROUGH — Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti, who were together for 28 years calling Patriots games on the radio, will be briefly reunited in the booth for Sunday’s regular-season finale.
Cappelletti, a former player and coach for the Patriots, retired as the radio analyst following last season’s trip to the Super Bowl. Santos, the longtime play-by-play voice of the team, is retiring at the end of this season. Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak replaced Cappelletti and has been Santos’s analyst this year.
The Patriots announced on Wednesday that Cappelletti will be in the booth for the start of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, and that he and Santos will call the first series. They will be honored by the team at halftime.
“Gino and Gil have been doing it for so many years … it’s changed this year, and will be another one next year, but it’s kind of a passing-of-the-torch at that role,” coach Bill Belichick said. “To the fans, that’s huge, because that’s often times their connection to the team. I know Gil and Gino have meant a lot to this organization, and I know there’s a great affection for them from our fans.”
This is Santos’s 36th season calling Patriots games, and Sunday will be game No. 743. He started calling Boston Patriots games in 1966 when the team played home games at Fenway Park, and has had two stints as play-by-play voice: from 1966-79, then since 1991.
Cappelletti played for the Patriots from 1960-70, and also had two stints in the radio booth as analyst. The first, from 1972-78, ended when he became the Patriots’ special teams coach from 1979-81. He returned to the booth in 1988, working with Dale Arnold until 1990, then he and Santos called games until last season.
Even players, despite not being aware of the radio calls during games, understand what the presence of Santos and Cappelletti have meant to the organization through the years.
“It’s a pretty great twosome they’ve had for a long time,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “Gino was a hell of a player here and Gil, it’s always nice to see both those guys after the game or before the game, and the kind of support that they’ve given us over the years.
“I don’t get to hear them much on the radio, obviously, but on some of those highlight videos that we’ve had where you hear Gil’s calls, it’s pretty special. Yeah, they’ll be missed; they’re a great group.”