The Lakeland Ledger

January 22, 1974

By Associated Press

Parilli To Lead Boston World Football League Entry

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Bulls? In the home of the bean and the cod? Somebody has to be kidding.

Boston's entry into the World Football League officially became the Bulls Monday - and all President and General Manager Howard Baldwin could say was, "We liked the name."

One wise-cracking wit immediately suggested the new team try to recruit the Chicago Bulls, a tall, husky group in the National Basketball Association.

However, the main business was the announcing of Vito "Babe" Parilli, 43, a 16-year pro quarterback who starred for the Boston Patriots in the old American Football League as head coach.

Parilli, who has business ties in the area and resides in nearby Acton, signed what was announced as a multi-year contract. The Associated Press learned it was a three-year pact calling for more than $50,000 a year.

"I'm bubbling with enthusiasm," said Parilli. "I'm very impressed with everything the organization, the league and all the people involved."

Parilli led Kentucky to the Orange and Sugar Bowls before becoming the Green Bay Packers' number one choice in the NFL's 1952 draft. He bounced around, even going to Canada to play, before finding a home with the Boston Patriots, who switched to New England after the AFL-NFL merger.

"It's nice to be back home," said Parilli. I think there's going to be much fun, much work, and of course total dedication."

In 1966, Parilli was voted the AP's Comeback Player of the Year. He was 36. Asked jokingly if he might try another comeback as a passer, he raised his right arm and replied: "No way."

During his pro career Parilli passed for 22,681 yards and 178 touchdowns. However, he is also remembered by some for his college heroics at Kentucky.

"He beat our tails off twice while I was at Florida playing quarterback," said Haywood Sullivan, who chose baseball as a career and now is player personnel director of the Boston Red Sox "Believe me, he was some football player."

Parilli left the Patriots, and was Joe Namath's backup quarterback when the New York Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969. Then he turned to coaching, resigning after three years of tutoring Terry Bradshaw and Terry Hanratty with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"As a former quarterback, I'm an offensive minded coach," Parilli said. "You have to put points on the board to win."