For 36 of the 56 seasons of its existence as a professional football team, if you heard the New England Patriots on the radio, you heard the voice of Gil Santos. “The Voice of the Patriots” was one of the longest-tenured local radio broadcasters in NFL history. Santos began calling games for the Patriots in 1966 as an analyst on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. When the team moved to Foxborough in 1971, he transitioned to become a play-by-play announcer. For most of his time in the booth, his broadcast partner was “Mr. Patriot”, former Patriots wide receiver, Gino Cappelletti. Gil and Gino were in the Patriots’ radio booth for 28 seasons (1972-1978, 1991-2011), which is the longest radio pairing in modern-day NFL history. Together, they called a combined 585 regular-season and postseason games, which included a NFL-record six Super Bowls.
Santos’ first stint as “Voice of the Patriots” prematurely ended when the New England Patriots Radio Network switched its flagship station to 590 AM WEEI in 1980. During his time away from the Patriots, Santos called Boston Celtics games for WBZ-TV and WLVI-TV with Celtics legend Bob Cousy from 1981-1989. Santos’ became the “Voice of the Patriots” once again when the New England Patriots Radio Network switched its flagship station back to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 in 1991. (His predecessor is current NESN Bruins studio host Dale Arnold.) When the New England Patriots Radio Network switched its flagship station to The Rock of Boston, WBCN (104.1 FM) in 1995, Gil and Gino moved with them, because WBCN is owned by CBS Radio. During their 13-year run on ‘BCN, the Patriots went to five Super Bowls; winning three in a four-year span. This was the call of the final moments of Super Bowl XXVI:
In 2009, the New England Patriots Radio Network switched its flagship station to its current home: Boston’s Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub. Gino Cappelletti retired after the 2011 season, his last game being XLVI. Gil Santos retired the following season, and during his last game, a Week 17 match-up with the Miami Dolphins, current Patriots radio analyst Scott Zolak turned the booth over to Gil and Gino for the opening quarter, so that Patriots fans who were listening over the radio can hear them one last time. The following video was the final moments of his last broadcast: the 2012 AFC Championship game, in which the Patriots fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, 28-13:
In 2013, Santos became the first broadcaster, and the second non-player, to be enshrined in the Patriots Hall of Fame.