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AFL Mourns the Passing of Babe Parilli

July 15, 2017
Former AFL Coach Passed Away at 87

The Arena Football League is saddened to learn of the passing of former head coach, Babe Parilli. He was 87-years old.


A quarterback in his playing days, Parilli was first discovered by the great Vince Lombardi. Lombardi cut him in 1953, and Parili went on to ultimately be a star in the old AFL with the Boston Patriots before the AFL/NFL merger. Parilli also won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Jets as Joe Namath's backup.

Parilli began his career in the indoor game in 1988 with the New England Steamrollers. That year, Parilli discovered a man who would go on to be a gem in this league, Sylvester Bembery. Bembery became a Hall of Famer thanks to Tim Marcum and his days with the Tampa Bay Storm, but without Parilli, it's anyone's guess as to whether Bembery ever would have been discovered.

Parilli also discovered two other future Hall of Famers. He brought Les Barley into the AFL in 1992 when he was coaching the Charlotte Rage, then gave Sam Hernandez his first job with the 1995 Las Vegas Sting. Hernandez went on to amass 60 sacks in his AFL career, a record that has stood for over a decade.

Parilli went 43-53 in his nine-year AFL career, including five postseason appearances. He won Coach of the Year honors in 1989 with the Denver Dynamite.

Babe Parilli Coaching Record
1988 New England Steamrollers (3-9)
1989 Denver Dynamite (3-1)
1990 Denver Dynamite (4-4)
1991 Denver Dynamite (6-4)
1992 Charlotte Rage (3-7)
1994 Las Vegas Sting (5-7)
1995 Las Vegas Sting (5-7)
1996 Anaheim Piranhas (9-5)
1997 Florida Bobcats (4-10)