The 1960s Boston Patriots had some of the greatest players of the franchise, including Gino Cappelletti, Jim Lee Hunt, Houston Antwine and Babe Parilli. Jack Rudolph may not be the first name that pops in your mind when thinking about this era of football. However, he was a key player of the team’s early seasons, and helped the Patriots become a serious organization. On Sunday, June 23, the former Patriots linebacker passed away at 82.
Rudolph was born in St. Louis in 1937. The roots of his athletic career were in Georgia as he was a multi-sport athlete who earned a football scholarship fom Georgia Tech. Rudolph was a three-time letter winner in the period between 1957 and 1959. His college success helped him become a big name in pro football, and the Detroit Lions drafted him in 1959. Rudolph decided to play in the newly founded AFL and he was the Patriots’ second-round pick the following season.
Rudolph played six seasons in Boston and appeared in 66 combined games for the franchise. During his time with the Patriots, the team went 40-26-4 and made the AFL Championship Game to finish the 1963 season. after his 1965 season, the Patriot joined the Miami Dolphins. Rudolph played one season in Miami and announced his decision to retire.
Rudolph and his wife Marsha got married in 1965 and stayed together till the rest of his life. The couple lived in Valdosta, Georgia.
The former Patriot was a successful coach and teacher at Valdosta High School. Rudolph was the school’s defensive coordinator for 25 years. He won eleven state and five national titles.
Rudolph was inducted in the Valdosta/Lowndes County Sports Hall of Fame.
The world of football lost a great person and an incredible athlete. Rudolph will be remembered as a pro football player, teacher and coach. He set up the pillars of the Patriots franchise, and made history with his efforts on the field. The Patriots nation will always remember this legend, and hopefully, many players will look up to him. We are sending our thoughts and prayers with Jack Rudolph’s family and friends.