Read Bill Belichick’s statement on the death of ‘great friend’ Gil Santos

Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots.

Gil Santos, the legendary “Voice of the Patriots,” passed away Thursday on his 80th birthday.

The play-by-play announcer called 743 Patriots games, including three Super Bowls, on his way to the Patriots Hall of Fame. One of his most famous calls came in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXXVI, as Adam Vinatieri lined up a 48-yard field goal with a championship on the line.

“Snap, ball down, kick up, kick is on the way and it is… good! It’s good! It’s good! Adam Vinatieri!” Santos said. “And the Patriots are Super Bowl champions. The Patriots are Super Bowl champions.”

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Vinatieri’s head coach remembered his “great friend” in a statement. New England owner Robert Kraft and Santos’s successors, Bob Socci and Scott Zolak, have also paid tribute.

“He will forever remain a special figure in the lives of generations of players, coaches, and fans who knew him and in the lives of those who will hear his legendary voice in the future,” Bill Belichick wrote.