Andrew Mason wrote a wonderful tribute piece on Babe that appears on our web site, but I have a few thoughts that I thought I might share with our readers.
Those who knew Babe just loved him, and I count myself among those numbers.
He was our quarterback coach when I joined the Broncos in 1978, and here are a few things that many might not know but that I find fascinating:
His given name was Vito, but he had one of the greatest nicknames ever, “The Sweet Kentucky Babe.”
When he was at the University of Kentucky, he was like future SEC and Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning in that he also played baseball in college. Babe was a terrific shortstop for the Kentucky Wildcats.
After his passing Saturday, he was covered with an American flag. Most were unaware of this, but Babe served in the United States Air Force as a lieutenant.
He had a free and easy attitude, but, typical of a lot of great quarterbacks, he was as competitive as you can imagine.
“He was SO competitive,” says mutual friend Al King, a Broncos publicist for much of the team’s first decade and one of Babe’s closest buddies.
Al tells me he would play gin for hours, and then his competitive nature took over and he would not tolerate an interruption of any kind. If the game did not go well, they might not speak for months, even though they were the best of friends.
Babe claims never to have ever fumbled a snap from center, neither in college nor in his two-decade professional career.
When he was a head coach in the Arena Football League, the Los Angeles Rams suffered…
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