John Cappelletti

John Cappelletti (born August 9, 1952) is a former American football running back. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) with the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers.

Prior to his professional career, he attended Penn State, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1973.[1][2][3][4] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said that Cappelletti was "the best football player I ever coached." Cappelletti's relationship with his younger brother Joey, who was stricken with leukemia, was chronicled into a book and made-for-TV movie.

John Cappelletti
refer to caption
Cappelletti (22) playing for the Rams in 1977
No. 22, 25
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:August 9, 1952 (age 66)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Drexel Hill (PA) Bonner
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:2,951
Rushing average:3.6
Rushing touchdowns:24
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cappelletti attended Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, a west suburb, played quarterback,[4] and graduated in 1970.

College career

In the era before freshman eligibility, Cappelletti was a running back on the freshman team at Penn State in 1970. During his sophomore season in 1971, he played as a defensive back,[2][5] as the Nittany Lions had two senior running backs who were taken early in the 1972 NFL Draft: Franco Harris (13th overall) and Lydell Mitchell (48th).

As a senior tailback at Penn State in 1973, Cappelletti gained 1,522 yards on 286 carries scoring 17 touchdowns as the Nittany Lions rolled to an undefeated 12–0 season. He was awarded the 1973 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, the UPI College Football Player of the Year, the Walter Camp Award, the Chic Harley Award, as well as receiving All-America honors. In his two-year running-back career, Cappelletti gained over 100 yards in thirteen games and had a career total of 2,639 yards and twenty-nine touchdowns for an average of 120 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry. His Heisman acceptance speech, where he dedicated his award to his dying brother Joey,[6][7] is one of the most memorable in the history of college sports.

The relationship between Cappelletti and his younger brother, who died of childhood leukemia on April 8, 1976,[8] was made into a television movie in 1977 called Something for Joey; Cappelletti was played by Marc Singer. The movie was based on the book of the same name written by Richard E. Peck and chronicled the bond between the two brothers as Cappelletti supported his young brother, ill with cancer.

During Cappelletti's senior season, Penn State played West Virginia in late October. The morning of the game, Cappelletti asked Joey what he wanted for his upcoming 11th birthday. Joey replied "I want you to score three touchdowns for me. No, four." In Something for Joey, a shocked Cappelletti is seen confiding to a teammate: "How am I going to score four touchdowns?" At the end of the first half, Cappelletti had scored 3 touchdowns, well on his way to four. But head coach Joe Paterno did not like to run up the score against opponents, so when the game resumed after halftime, Paterno told Cappelletti he would be on the bench. Cappelletti quietly took his seat on the bench, without telling Paterno of Joey's wish. Late in the third quarter, one of Cappelletti's teammates told Paterno of Joey's wish. On Penn State's next possession, Paterno shouted "22" and Cappelletti took the field; he scored his fourth touchdown on the same possession,[9] and pointed to Joey as he ran off the field. The Lions scored three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter and won 62–14.[9]

Later honors

Cappelletti was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993, and is also a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 2009 Inductee Class.

The undefeated 1973 team was honored at Beaver Stadium during halftime of the 2013 home opener on September 7, and Cappelletti received special recognition – his No. 22 was retired by the program, the first and only number to be retired by any sport at the university.

On December 11, 2014, the Big Ten Network included Cappelletti on "The Mount Rushmore of Penn State Football," as chosen by online fan voting. He was joined in the honor by linebackers Jack Ham, LaVar Arrington, and Shane Conlan.

Professional career

Cappelletti was the eleventh overall pick of the 1974 NFL Draft, taken by the Los Angeles Rams. He played nine seasons in the league, five with the Rams (19741978), and four with the San Diego Chargers (19801983). He missed the entire 1979 season due to a nagging groin injury.[10]

Personal life

Cappelletti is married with four sons and now resides in Laguna Niguel, California,[11] with wife, Betty (née Berry). His sister-in-law is the daughter of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche.[12]

Cappelletti also is a classic car enthusiast.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Cappelletti wins Heisman Trophy". Chicago Tribune. UPI. December 5, 1973. p. 1, sec. 3.
  2. ^ a b "John Cappelletti wins Heisman Trophy". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. December 4, 1973. p. 20.
  3. ^ Parascenzo, Marino (December 5, 1973). "Heisman Trophy cometh to the Iceman - Cappelletti". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 30.
  4. ^ a b "Cappelletti had doubts Heisman Trophy". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. December 5, 1973. p. 68.
  5. ^ "Cappelletti talks about football..." Daily Collegian. (University Park, Pennsylvania). September 21, 1985. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  6. ^ Lyon, Bill (December 15, 1973). "Sports hero dedicates prize to dying brother". Chicago Tribune. Knight Newspapers. p. 1, sports final.
  7. ^ Cappelletti, John; Bradley, Ken (December 12, 2009). "I remember..." Sporting News. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-02-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b "Cappelletti scores four". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. October 28, 1973. p. 67.
  10. ^ "Cappelletti to miss 1979 season". Gettysburg Times. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. August 21, 1979. p. 9.
  11. ^ a b Fernandez, Bernard (2009-12-21). "Cappelletti recalls poor conditions at first PSU-LSU bowl". Philadelphia Daily News.
  12. ^ Peck, Richard E. (March 1, 1983). Something for Joey. Laurel Leaf. ISBN 0-553-27199-7.

External links

1971 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

The 1971 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represented the Pennsylvania State University in the 1971 NCAA University Division football season. The team was coached by Joe Paterno and played its home games in Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

1972 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

The 1972 Penn State Nittany Lions represented Pennsylvania State University in the 1972 NCAA University Division football season. As a result of using ineligible players, the Oklahoma Sooners were ordered to forfeit seven wins from their 1972 season, including their on-field win over the Nittany Lions. However, Paterno and Penn State refused to accept the forfeit, and the bowl game is officially recorded as a loss.

1972 Sugar Bowl (December)

The 1972 Sugar Bowl was an American college football bowl game played on December 31, 1972, in New Orleans, Louisiana. This 39th edition of the Sugar Bowl featured the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Oklahoma Sooners. Both teams came in with a 10–1 record and were ranked in the top five in the polls; Penn State was fifth and Oklahoma was second. It was played at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, for the first time on New Year's Eve.

Oklahoma won the game 14–0, however some dispute that Penn State actually won by forfeit.

The shutout was the first for Penn State in over six years, and it was their first bowl loss in a decade.

This was the only Sugar Bowl between 1950 and 1995 that did not include a team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

1973 College Football All-America Team

The 1973 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 1973. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes six selectors as "official" for the 1973 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) which selected its team for Kodak based on a vote of the nation's coaches; (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selected by the nation's football writers; (4) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) selected based on the votes of sports writers at NEA newspapers; (5) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (6) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC).

Five players are recognized by the NCAA as unanimous All-America selections. They are: (1) running back and 1973 Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti of Penn State; (2) offensive tackle John Hicks of Ohio State; (3) defensive end John Dutton of Nebraska; (4) middle guard Lucious Selmon of Oklahoma; and (5) linebacker Randy Gradishar of Ohio State.

1973 NCAA Division I football season

The 1973 NCAA Division I football season was the first for the NCAA's current three-division structure. Effective with the 1973–74 academic year, schools formerly in the NCAA "University Division" were classified as Division I (later subdivided for football only in 1978 (I-A and I-AA) and renamed in 2006 into today's Division I FBS and FCS). Schools in the former "College Division" were classified into Division II, which allowed fewer athletic scholarships than Division I, and Division III, in which athletic scholarships were prohibited.

In its inaugural season, Division I had two NCAA-recognized national champions, and they faced each other at year's end in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve. The New Orleans game matched two unbeaten teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide (11–0), ranked #1 by AP and UPI, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10–0), ranked #3 by AP and #4 by UPI.

While both wire services ranked Alabama first at the end of the regular season, the final AP poll was after the bowl games. By agreement with the American Football Coaches' Association, however, UPI bestowed its championship before the postseason bowl games, and Alabama was crowned champion by UPI on December 4. UPI ranked Notre Dame fourth: one coach had given the Irish a first place vote, compared to 21 for Alabama. (In the next season, the final coaches' poll was after the bowls.)In a game where the lead changed six times, Notre Dame won by a single point, 24–23, to claim the AP national championship. During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football teams that would become Division I-A in 1978. The NCAA Football Guide, however, did note an "unofficial national champion" based on the top ranked teams in the "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular, followed by the "coaches' poll" by United Press International) (UPI). In 1973, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed. The AP poll in 1973 consisted of the votes of as many as 63 sportswriters and broadcasters, though not all of them voted in every poll. UPI's voting was made by 34 coaches. Those who cast votes would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined.

1973 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

The 1973 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represented Pennsylvania State University in the 1973 NCAA Division I football season. Penn State's third undefeated season under Joe Paterno was led by John Cappelletti who would become the first Penn State player to win the Heisman Trophy.

1974 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1974 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 37th year with the National Football League and the 29th season in Los Angeles. The Rams looked to improve on its 12-2 season from 1973 and win the NFC West for the 2nd straight season. While not improving on their record, they did win their division for the 2nd straight season with a 10-4 record, which was good enough for the 2nd best record in the NFC. In the playoffs, Los Angeles defeated the Washington Redskins in a rematch of week 13's game, which Washington won 23-17, which turned out to be the Rams only loss at home during the entire season. They won this game 19-10 to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time ever. However, they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 14-10 to end their season.

1974 Orange Bowl

The 1974 Orange Bowl took place on January 1, 1974, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. It featured the LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the independent Penn State Nittany Lions.

1975 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1975 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 38th year with the National Football League and the 30th season in Los Angeles.

In 2007, ranked the 1975 Rams as the tenth-greatest defense in NFL history. Said, "Fred Dryer. Jack Youngblood. Merlin Olson. Get the idea? They weren't the "Fearsome Foursome," but with those guys anchoring the defensive line, and All-Pros Isiah Robertson (linebacker) and Dave Elmendorf (safety), the Rams were almost impossible to score against. The Rams went 12–2, holding opponents to just 9.6 points a game, (the second-lowest average in NFL history) and ending the season with a six-game winning streak during which they gave up just 32 points. The defense wasn't as impressive in the postseason, surrendering 23 points in a first-round 35–23 victory over the offensive powerhouse Cardinals before losing 37–7 to the Cowboys in the NFC title game."

1976 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1976 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 39th year with the National Football League and the 31st season in Los Angeles. The Rams continued their dominance of the NFC West, winning their 4th straight division title as well as their 4th straight playoff berth. After a record setting 1975 season in which their defense was nearly untouchable, the Rams were picked by many to win the Super Bowl. Despite not improving on its 12-2 record from 1975, the team continued to be one of the best in the NFL. This Rams team is quite notable for setting many records during the season. One good notable record was breaking the franchise record for points scored in a game with 59 in a 59-0 devouring of the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams would ultimately have another year of success, finishing 10-3-1. In the playoffs, they would beat Dallas 14-12 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, the Rams would lose the NFC Championship game to the Minnesota Vikings 24-13.

1977 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1977 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 40th year with the National Football League and the 32nd season in Los Angeles.

Hobbled by chronic knee woes, quarterback Joe Namath was waived by the New York Jets after the 1976 season, after they were unable to trade him. Namath signed with the L.A. Rams in May 1977. Hope of a Rams revival sprung when Los Angeles won two of their first three games, but Namath was hampered by low mobility. After a poor performance in a Monday Night loss to the Bears, Namath never saw NFL game action again.After a home playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings 14-7 on a saturated field in game which has been termed the "Mud Bowl", Rams head coach Chuck Knox was fired due to ownership's frustration that Knox had not been able to reach the Super Bowl.

1978 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1978 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 41st year with the National Football League and the 33rd season in Los Angeles.

The Rams won their sixth-straight division title and appeared in the NFC Championship game, only to get shutout by the Dallas Cowboys 0–28.


Cappelletti may be:

A kind of pasta similar to tortellini, a stuffed pasta. Unlike tortellini, that use a meat-based filling, cappelletti are usually stuffed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Robiola. They are typical for Emilia-Romagna, Italy, (Ravenna, Forlì, Cesena, Rimini, Ferrara, Modena, Reggio Emilia).

An Italian surname. Notable people with the surname include:Ángel Cappelletti, Argentine professor

Daniel Cappelletti, Italian footballer

Felice Cappelletti, Italian painter

Gino Cappelletti, American rule football player

Joe Cappelletti, voice actor

John Cappelletti, American rule football player

Mauro Cappelletti

Mike Cappelletti (1942–2013), American bridge player and poker authorityAn alternative name, in 15th to 18th century Venice, for the Albanian stradiotti mercenaries, on account of their red hats.

Marc Singer

Marc Singer (born January 29, 1948) is a Canadian-born American actor best known for his roles in the Beastmaster film series, as Mike Donovan in the original 1980s TV series V, and his role in Dallas as Matt Cantrell.

Mark Markovich

Mark James Markovich (born November 7, 1952) is a former professional American football player who spent four seasons in the National Football League, where he played for the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions. Prior to his professional career, Markovich played at the collegiate level, while attending Penn State, where he provided blocking for Heisman Trophy winner, John Cappelletti.

Penn State Nittany Lions football

The Penn State Nittany Lions team represents the Pennsylvania State University in college football. The Nittany Lions compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Big Ten Conference, which they joined in 1993 after playing as an Independent from their founding through 1992.Established in 1887, the Nittany Lions have achieved numerous on-field successes, the most notable of which include two consensus national championships (1982 and 1986), four Big Ten Conference Championships (in 1994, 2005, 2008, and 2016), and 48 appearances in college bowl games, with a postseason bowl record of 29–17–2. The team is also #8 in all-time total wins, one game behind Oklahoma and Alabama. The Nittany Lions play their home games at Beaver Stadium, located on-campus in University Park, Pennsylvania. With an official seating capacity of 106,572, Beaver Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the western hemisphere, behind only Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The team is currently coached by James Franklin.

Penn State Nittany Lions football statistical leaders

The Penn State Nittany Lions football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Penn State Nittany Lions football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Nittany Lions represent Pennsylvania State University in the NCAA's Big Ten Conference.

Although Penn State began competing in intercollegiate football in 1887, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1970. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1970, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002, allowing players in most seasons since then an extra game to accumulate statistics.These lists are updated through November 4, 2017, after the first nine games of the 2017 season.

Shane Conlan

Shane Patrick Conlan (born March 4, 1964) is a former professional American football player. He played college football at Penn State University, where he won two national championships in 1982 and 1986, although he was red-shirted prior to the start of the 1982 season and did not play that season. In 1981, prior to his Penn State career and after his senior season at Frewsburg High School in which he played under head coach Thomas Sharp, Conlan was voted Western New York high school Player of the Year. During his career at Penn State, Conlan had 274 tackles, including a school-record 186 solos. He finished his football career as a three-time all-pro with the NFL's Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams.

Something for Joey

Something for Joey is a 1977 American made-for-television sport drama film about the relationship between college football player John Cappelletti (portrayed by Marc Singer), and his younger brother Joey (Jeff Lynas). Other cast members included Linda Kelsey and Steve Guttenberg. It appeared on the NBC television network, later repeating on NBC and CBS.

John Cappelletti—awards and honors

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