Vince Papale and Mark Wahlberg
Vince Papale is a legend and hero to thousands in Philadelphia and he will be a hero to millions around the world once Invincible opens in theaters. Actor Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale in the Disney film Invincible which chronicles Papale’s amazing journey of going from a Philadelphia Eagles fan to a Philadelphia Eagles player at the age of 30.
Papale played just one year of high-school football and had no college football experience, as he graduated from Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s College, which did not have a football team. At age 30, while bartending and substitute-teaching at Interboro High School, Papale joined the former World Football League team, the Philadelphia Bell, as a wide receiver. His performance with them earned him a meeting with Coach Dick Vermeil after general manager Jim Murray got him an invitation to a private work-out held by Coach Vermeil.
Papale, at 6′ 2″ (1.88 m) and 195 pounds (88.5 kg), eventually made the team, thereby becoming the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL (outside kickers). He went on to play wide receiver and special teams for the Eagles from 1976 through 1978. During that time, he played in 41 of 48 regular season games, recording 2 fumble recoveries and 1 reception for 15 yards.
Papale has had to be Rocky twice in his life. In 2001, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Vince overcame the disease and has become a spokesperson persuading people to get annual checkups. Papale does motivational speaking around the country as well.
Currently, Papale is the regional director of marketing and senior account executive for higher-education marketing at Sallie Mae. He resides in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with his wife Janet and two children, Gabriella and Vincent.