In 1969, the Minnesota Vikings were having a moment. On and off the turf of the old Metropolitan Stadium, the Purple People Eaters reigned supreme. At the center of it all was unconventional quarterback Joe Kapp.
Kapp joined the Vikings with the tenacity to succeed. With the motto “40 for 60,” he inspired the team’s forty players to give it their all every minute, every hour, every game. Kapp helped mold the Vikings into a winning team, scoring the 1969 NFL Champions title and blazing their way to their first Super Bowl appearance. Later that year, Sports Illustrated featured Kapp on its cover, dubbing him the “Toughest Chicano” for his Hispanic pride and ferocious style of play.
Joe Kapp, “The Toughest Chicano” honors the life, leadership, and legacy of one of history’s toughest football players. Inside, you’ll find a behind-the-scenes look at pivotal moments in football history, Kapp’s own game-by-game analysis of the 1969 season, memoirs about his early life and successful coaching career, and memories on the set of iconic sports films like The Longest Yard. As a player, coach, and father, Joe Kapp’s legacy shows that every player counts if they give their all, every minute, every game.
Joe Kapp led the Minnesota Vikings to their first Super Bowl, and throughout his life has been a shining example of leadership, sportsmanship, and integrity. He played college football for the University of California—Berkeley, then embarked on a professional career in the CFL (Calgary Stampeders, BC Lions) and the NFL (Minnesota Vikings, Boston Patriots). Afterward, he served as head coach of the California Golden Bears from 1982–1986. Kapp is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame; he lives in Los Gatos, California.
J. J. Kapp is the only child of Joe and Marcia Day Kapp. After obtaining his bachelor of arts from Chico State University and his JD from Santa Clara University, he served as a trial attorney for the Santa Clara County (CA) Public Defender’s Office from 1990–2017. He and his wife Pat have two children, Frank and Kelly.
Robert G. Phelps is a screenwriter and ﬁlmmaker who earned an MFA in ﬁlm and television at UCLA in 2013 after working for almost twenty-three years as an attorney in the Santa Clara County (CA) Public Defender’s Oﬃce. He’s written feature stories for the Los Angeles Angels, the Arena Football League’s San Jose SaberCats, and Parachutist. He is the owner of Robert G. Phelps Productions LLC and can be reached at email@example.com.
Born in New York, Ned Averbuck spent his childhood in East Los Angeles and obtained his bachelor of arts from the University of California. He is a lifetime high school and college instructor, and served as director of Pete Newell Basketball Academy from 1981–2012.
“Legendary Cal Golden Bear quarterback and head coach Joe Kapp said, ‘The Bear will not quit. The Bear will not die.’ If you want learn what grit, a sense of humor, and true leadership look like on and off the football field, you will enjoy this book. Joe Kapp makes me proud to be a Cal Golden Bear.” —Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams quarterback
“Joe Kapp is a true son of California. He loved the university and he loved his team. He believed in us as men, not just football players, and I loved him for that. This book will introduce you to who Joe Kapp was as a player and coach, who he is as a man, and why his leadership lessons are good for all of us.” —Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers head coach
“Joe Kapp, ‘The Toughest Chicano’ shares the recipe for toughness and leadership from a quarterback who played the game like a linebacker, y con orgullo latino. I’ve never come across a man with more passion and love for the game of football. Viva Joe Kapp!” —Kiko Alonso, New Orleans Saints linebacker
“Joe Kapp and Terry Bradshaw were the toughest quarterbacks of the twentieth century.” —Howie Long, Fox Sports broadcaster and Hall of Fame defensive lineman