Joe Bellino

Joseph Michael Bellino (born March 13, 1938) is a former American football halfback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1960 playing for the United States Naval Academy and later played in the American Football League (AFL) for the Boston Patriots.[1] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Joe Bellino
No. 27
Personal information
Born:March 13, 1938 (age 81)
Winchester, Massachusetts
Career information
NFL Draft:1961 / Round: 17 / Pick: 227
AFL draft:1961 / Round: 19 / Pick: 146
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career AFL statistics
Games played:35
Offensive yards:115
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early life

Bellino was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, attended the town's public schools, and was a three-sport star at Winchester High School. In baseball he batted well over .400 and was courted by major league teams. He was offered a contract by the Pittsburgh Pirates after high school.[2]

The basketball team on which he starred won the state championship his sophomore and junior years. They moved up to the Class A (largest schools) tournament his senior year, where the team's 55-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of much larger B.M.C. Durfee High School of Fall River.

He was a dominant halfback on Winchester's outstanding football team, although his senior season was shortened by the 1955 polio epidemic. He was recruited by several Big Ten schools, Notre Dame, Ivy League schools as well as the U.S. Military Academy, but his first choice all along was Navy.[2]

College career

During his 1956–57 year at Columbian Academy in Washington, D.C., Bellino starred in both football and basketball. On November 25, Bellino scored three touchdowns in Columbian's upset win over the Navy Plebes, 34–33.

In the fall of 1957, Bellino entered the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland along with his former high-school teammate, Frank Dattilo. During his freshman year, the Plebes matched up against the Penn State freshmen. Penn State won the game 23–13, but Bellino took a lateral from his Columbian teammate Harry Dietz and scored on an 85-yard kickoff return.

He was an outstanding baseball player at Navy, but his legendary exploits occurred on the football field. In his senior year, he rushed for 834 yards, caught 15 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, threw two touchdown passes, averaged 47.1 yards as a punter, and returned kicks and punts. He won the 1960 Heisman Trophy by a wide margin, garnering the most votes in each of the five national voting regions. In Bellino's final college football game, Navy's loss to the University of Missouri in the 1961 Orange Bowl, he scored his team's final touchdown with a spectacular diving catch in the end zone.

Following graduation, Ensign Bellino began his four years of active Navy service, until he was discharged to reserve duty.

Professional career

Bellino was selected in 17th round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, as well as in the 19th round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Boston Patriots. He decided to join the Patriots of the American Football League, and played three seasons, primarily as a kick returner. Due to his five-year commitment to the U.S. Navy following graduation, he remains the lowest drafted Heisman Trophy winner in the history of the National Football League (NFL).[3]

Bellino also played for the Providence Steamrollers semi-pro team in Providence, Rhode Island.

Bellino is the only former Heisman Trophy running back who has played for Patriots. He caught a 15-yard pass from former Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte in the Patriots 38–14 rout of the Houston Oilers on December 11, 1966. Bellino caught a deflected pass on his back that allowed the Patriots to continue a drive that resulted in a touchdown in their 14–3 win over the Buffalo Bills in "The Game" at Fenway Park on December 4, 1966.

He had the Patriots longest kickoff return in 1966 and caught a 25-yard TD pass in the Patriots 20–10 win over the Buffalo Bills at War Memorial Stadium on October 8, 1966.

After football

Bellino served a total of 28 years in the United States Navy and the Naval Reserve, and retired with the rank of Captain.

Since the close of his playing career, he has been a successful businessman in the Boston area, where he has also been active in charitable organizations. He and his wife, Ann Tansey, have two children, Therese and John, and currently live in Bedford, Massachusetts.[1]

In 1976 Bellino also coached Saint Columbkille, a small Catholic school. In 1991, he was the first inductee into his high school's Winchester Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.[4] Bellino Park in Winchester was dedicated in his honor in November 2004.


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Joe Bellino Stats". January 1, 1970. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

1960 Air Force Falcons football team

The 1960 Air Force Falcons football team represented the United States Air Force Academy in the 1960 college football season as a University Division Independent. Led by third–year head coach Ben Martin, the Falcons played their home games at DU Stadium in Denver, Colorado. They were outscored by their opponents 147–178 and finished with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses (4–6).

This was the first year the Falcons played Navy, a 35–3 loss in mid-October at

Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino scored three first half touchdowns and also had an interception. The two academies met in even-numbered years (except 1962 and 1964) through 1971, and have played annually in the competition (with Army) for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, first awarded in 1972.

1960 College Football All-America Team

The 1960 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1960. The six selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1960 season are (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (2) the Associated Press (AP), (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (4) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (5) the Sporting News, and (6) the United Press International (UPI).

Seven players, including 1960 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino of Navy, and College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Mike Ditka of Pitt and Bob Lilly of TCU, were unanimously named first-team All-Americans by all six official selectors.

1960 Navy Midshipmen football team

The 1960 Navy Midshipmen football team represented the United States Naval Academy in the 1960 college football season. The offense scored 262 points while the defense allowed 103 points. Led by head coach Wayne Hardin, the Midshipmen finished the season with nine wins and an appearance in the Orange Bowl.

The Midshipmen were Lambert Trophy co-champions with undefeated Yale. Senior halfback Joe Bellino was awarded the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award.Navy upset third-ranked Washington in Seattle, which vaulted them up eleven places in the rankings, to sixth. They played Air Force for the first time this season, a 35–3 win in mid-October in Baltimore as Bellino scored three touchdowns and made an interception, all in the first half.

1961 Orange Bowl

The 1961 Orange Bowl to the featured the fifth-ranked Missouri Tigers and the fourth-ranked Navy Midshipmen.

Navy jumped to a 6–0 lead with a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown. But Missouri answered when Norm Beal intercepted Navy's Hal Spooner, rumbling down the sideline for a 90-yard return, giving Missouri a 7–6 advantage. They then drove 80 yards for a second touchdown, and led 14–6 at half.

Missouri's defense shut down the Midshipmen's running game, including Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino, forcing Navy to pass. But Missouri continued to run the ball, grinding it out for 223 rushing yards. After a scoreless third quarter, Missouri drove down 64 yards and capitalized with a 1-yard run from quarterback Ronnie Taylor. Taylor, who went 1 for 6 passing, threw for only five total yards. Down 21–6, Bellino caught a 27-yard pass from Spooner, and then made the two-point conversion, cutting the lead to 21–14. Missouri held on for the win. President-elect John F. Kennedy attended the game

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Navy Midshipmen football

The Navy Midshipmen football team represents the United States Naval Academy in NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) college football. The Naval Academy completed its final season as an FBS independent school (not in a conference) in 2014, and became a single-sport member of the American Athletic Conference beginning in the 2015 season. The team has been coached by Ken Niumatalolo since December 2007. Navy has 19 players and three coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame and won the college football national championship in 1926 according to the Boand and Houlgate poll systems. The 1910 team also was undefeated and unscored upon (the lone tie was a 0–0 game). The mascot is Bill the Goat.

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Wayne Hardin

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Joe Bellino—awards and honors

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