Babe Parilli (1930-2017) threw first game-winning TD at City Stadium (Lambeau Field)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Babe Parilli, a former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers who earned much of his fame with the Boston Patriots, died today, July 15, 2017, at the age of 87. His real first name was Vito.

Parilli began his career with the Packers in 1952, where he was a backup for most of his time in Packers News.

He played his first two seasons in Green Bay before going to Cleveland for one season in 1956 and then coming back to Green Bay in 1957, the year the Packers unveiled what was then known as the new City Field. It wouldn’t be named after Curly Lambeau for another couple of seasons.

But it was on Sept 29, 1957, that Babe Parilli had his greatest moment as a Packer.

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It was the day when then-Vice President Richard Nixon, NFL Commissioner Bert Bell and Miss America, Elaine Van Derbur, were in attendance to help bring the newest stadium into the league with a special program prior to the game.

While the game was nearly a second thought for fans who celebrated the opening of the new stadium, it was more than that for Parilli, who would go on to help win the game that day.

The rival Chicago Bears were the opponents that day, a fact that had Poppa Bear George Halas roaming the sidelines. Not only did Halas help significantly in the selling of the financing package that would be approved by voters, but he sat on the stage during the opening ceremonies because of his integral involvement in helping the new stadium become a reality.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 04: Bart Starr attends the 25th Annual Super Bowl Breakfast at Exposition Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 04: Bart Starr attends the 25th Annual Super Bowl Breakfast at Exposition Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images) /

That the Green Bay Packers, who would finish at 3-9 that season and 1-10-1 the next, played Halas and the Bears was fitting – and it was even better that the Packers beat the Bears that day with the help of Babe Parilli.

Bart Starr – yes, THAT Bart Starr – started the game and was having such a bad time moving the offense against the Bears, that he was replaced in the second quarter by Parilli.

Parilli brought the Packers back from deficits of 7-0 and 14-7 by throwing the first Packers touchdown in Lambeau Field to Billy Howton.

But it was Parilli’s heroics early in the fourth quarter that brought the City Stadium faithful to their feet.

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The game-winning touchdown is described beautifully in “The 25 Greatest Moments in Lambeau Field History,” by the Gary Knafelc, the wide receiver who caught the game-winning score from Parilli:

"“Babe was running for his life on the far left side, and he just threw the ball into the end zone. I was on the left side and came across. He saw me over there, and we always had a deal with Babe. We yelled, ‘Vito, Vito, Vito.’ I was kind of in a slot. I had run a post pattern, but he was running so hard to his left that I had to come back to the left side and find an open spot. That’s where he saw me, and he threw the ball behind me.”"

Parilli’s moment in the sun that day was one of few highlights for him in Green Bay.

Though his career spanned two leagues, five teams, 189 games and 15 years, his most success came as a member of the Boston Patriots.

In Boston of the old  American Football League, Babe Parilli played in 94 games, played in three all-star games and was the AFL’s comeback player of the year in 1966.

It wasn’t until 2007 when Tom Brady threw 50 touchdown passes that Pariilli’s franchise record of 31 was broken.

As a Packer, Babe Parilli played in 48 games, and had a record of 3-11. He had 258 completions on 602 attempts (42.0 percent) for 3,983 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Not real exciting stats for the late Mr. Parilli.

But for his one shining moment in that first game in what would become Lambeau Field, he was a star.

RIP, Mr. Babe Parilli.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

Babe Pariilli’s career statistics

Passing Table
7 yr7 yrBOS948344-32-71140241347.2167471325.51385.7806.95.514.7178.264.81310
4 yr4 yrGNB48143-11-025860242.93983315.16110.1906.63.115.483.042.932
2 yr2 yrNYJ28437954.453978.933.8476.86.912.519.389.611
1 yr1 yrCLE531-2-0244949.040936.1714.3688.
1 yr1 yrOAK1411-0-08718746.5100352.7115.9495.43.311.571.647.6

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/15/2017.