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John Cappelletti
Date of birth: August 9, 1952 (1952-08-09) (age 57)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career information
Position(s): Running Back
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 206 lb (93 kg)
Jersey №: 22
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 1974 / Round: 1/ Pick 11
 As player:
Los Angeles Rams
San Diego Chargers
Career highlights and awards
Awards: 1973 Heisman Trophy
1973 Maxwell Award
1973 Walter Camp Award
1973 UPI Player of the Year
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

John Cappelletti (born August 9, 1952) is a former professional American football running back for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers. Prior to his professional career, he attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1973. 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 attended Monsignor Bonner High School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. As a senior tailback at Penn State, he gained 1,522 yards on 286 carries scoring 17 touchdowns as the Nittany Lions rolled to an undefeated season. He was awarded the 1973 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, the UPI College Football Player of the Year, the Walter Camp Award as well as receiving All-America honors. In his two-year running career, he gained 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. Cappelletti's Heisman acceptance speech, where he dedicated his award to his dying brother Joey, is one of the most memorable in the history of college sports.

The relationship between Cappelletti and his younger brother Joey, who died of childhood leukemia on April 8, 1976[1] , 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 through his battle against cancer.

Cappelletti went on to play professional football from 1974 through 1983 for the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Also a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.



Cappelletti is married with four sons and now resides in Laguna Niguel, California.[2] His wife, Betty (née Berry), is the daughter of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche.[3]

Cappelletti is also a classic car enthusiast.[2]

See also

John Cappelletti's 1973 Heisman Trophy is part of an exhibit at the Penn State All-Sports Museum.


External links

Preceded by
Johnny Rodgers
Heisman Trophy Winner
Succeeded by
Archie Griffin
Preceded by
Brad Van Pelt
Maxwell Award Winner
Succeeded by
Steve Joachim


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