Patriots See Shake-Up In Booth As Cappelletti Retires, Santos Making '12 His Finale
Patriots radio color analyst Gino Cappelletti "has decided to retire" after 32 years, according to Chad Finn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Former NFLer Scott Zolak, who last season served as a Patriots sideline analyst, "is expected to succeed Cappelletti." Cappelletti and play-by-play announcer Gil Santos were paired from '72-78 and beginning again from '91 through last season. With Santos’ "classic baritone and Cappelletti’s genial manner, they were the unofficial voices of fall in New England." But in recent years, "the game seemed to speed up on Cappelletti, and gaffes became more prevalent during the broadcast." Adding Zolak to the team last year was "a graceful way of providing support while letting Cappelletti go out on his own terms." Finn: "For generations of Patriots fans, it won’t be quite the same without him." Santos "will return for his 36th year in the booth" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/20). Cappelletti said, “When the leaves do change their color, I might get a little pang, but I’m pretty comfortable with my decision and happy to say it’s been a wonderful experience for me.” Cappelletti said it was a “very strong possibility” he would still have a presence at Patriots games, calling the Patriots “one of the elite teams and I’m not going to walk away from that.” Cappelletti: “You really have to enjoy what this franchise has accomplished and achieved, especially with the new stadium and everything. They way they do it is on timely basis and it’s a wonderful thing to have witnessed” (“Toucher & Rich,” WBZ-FM, 7/20).
ONE MORE YEAR FOR SANTOS: Santos yesterday said that this will be his "final season" in the booth. In Worcester, Bill Doyle reports Santos admitted that a month ago he "wasn't sure he'd return this season because he was still recovering from double pneumonia in one lung, single pneumonia in the other, blood poisoning and a pulmonary obstruction that made breathing difficult." However, Santos' "stamina is returning and he expects to be ready to go by the time the Pats open their preseason schedule" on Aug. 9 at Gillette Stadium against the Saints (Worcester TELEGRAM, 7/20).