CBS Comes Through for Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti

The network’s tribute to the retiring Patriots radio announcers was perfect.

gil and ginoSunday’s Game Day cover featuring Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti, who called 585 games together in the past 28 years. (Photo via the New England Patriots on Facebook)

One of the best moments of the NFL season occurred early in Sunday’s Patriots game against the Dolphins. As the first quarter came to a close, CBS cut to Gil Santos. The team’s radio play-by-play man is retiring after this year, and the network wanted to recognize him. So, for one play—a 9-yard run by running back Shane Vereen—CBS sent Santos’ still-formidable pipes out to a national television audience. So who came up with the idea for the fitting tribute?

CBS coordinating producer Lance Barrow and his crew—including engineer Pete Kallander and audio supervisor Ed Soltis—deserve all the credit. Last week, after finding out that Santos and longtime broadcast partner Gino Cappelletti (the two worked together for 28 years) were going to be honored at Gillette Stadium before the Patriots faced the Dolphins, Barrow decided to plan something special. (The Sports Hub, which airs Patriots games, is a CBS affiliate. From a logistical standpoint, that presumably helped make things easier.) Unsurprisingly, the Patriots OK’ed it.

“We were fortunate enough to get the right moment,” Barrow said. “It fit into place. We didn’t have to go to commercial. There wasn’t a change of possession. It felt like the right time [and] the right place to do it.”

There was some luck involved, too. Cappelletti joined Santos and current color man Scott Zolak in the booth that day. Cappelletti was only supposed to stick around for the first drive, but ended up staying the entire first quarter. When CBS cut to Santos, you could hear him thanking Cappelletti. Then Santos called Vereen’s run, and the first quarter ended. “That moment felt right,” Barrow said. “You prepare and then sometimes you get fortunate.”

It was a good day for Santos. Before the game, the Patriots announced that he’ll be inducted into the team’s hall of fame.

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