Joe Kapp, the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback in Super Bowl IV, died on Monday at the age of 85, the University of California, his alma mater, confirmed to the Associated Press.
Kapp had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, the school said.
A standout signal-caller in both the National Football League and Canadian Football League, Kapp played 12 seasons of professional football altogether, most notably three campaigns for Minnesota in the late 1960s.
"Men like Joe Kapp are the cornerstones the Minnesota Vikings franchise was built upon," Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said in a statement on Tuesday. "Joe's toughness and competitive spirit defined the Vikings teams of his era, and his tenacity and leadership were respected by teammates and opponents alike. We mourn Joe's loss with his family, friends and Vikings fans around the world."
Kapp was originally drafted in 1959 by Washington out of California, where he finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and led the Golden Bears to its most recent Rose Bowl appearance in 1958, but Kapp jumped to the CFL after the NFL franchise declined to pick up his rights.
Following eight acclaimed years in Canada with the Calgary Stampeders and BC Lions, Kapp joined the Vikings in 1967, starting most of a losing season for the franchise. The QB led Minnesota to its first playoff appearance in 1968 and then broke out the following campaign.
In 1969, Kapp enjoyed a career year, throwing for 1,726 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, finishing with a 12-1 record and earning his first and only Pro Bowl nod. His seven TD passes in a Week 2 game against the Baltimore Colts remains tied for the single-game NFL record. The then-31-year-old finished second in MVP voting to the Los Angeles Rams' Roman Gabriel. En route to the Vikings' first NFL title and Super Bowl appearance, Kapp led Minnesota past Gabriel's Rams and the Cleveland Browns in the postseason.
In Super Bowl IV, Kapp and the Vikings fell to the Kansas City Chiefs, 24-7, with the quarterback completing 16 of 25 passes for 183 yards and two picks.
A rare free agent in 1970, Kapp signed with the Boston Patriots two weeks into the season, leading the AFC team to a league-worst 2-12 record. After the Pats drafted Jim Plunkett No. 1 overall in the 1971 draft and amid a contract squabble, Kapp left the Pats after one year and never played in professional football again.
Kapp concluded his four-year NFL career with 5,911 passing yards, 40 TDs and 64 INTs and a 24-21-3 record as a starting QB.
After his playing career and a few years as an actor, including in The Longest Yard, Kapp returned to Cal as head coach in 1982. In five seasons in charge, Kapp led the Golden Bears to a 20-34-1 record, earned Coach of the Year honors in his first campaign and coached the likes of former Super Bowl champion linebacker and current Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera. The most notable moment of Kapp's tenure was "The Play" in Cal's classic 1982 win over Stanford.