Life 101…Personally Speaking is an educational yet informal interview program hosted on the campus of Nova Southeastern University.
Vince Papale is the inspiration behind Walt Disney Pictures’Invincible movie, premiered nationwide on August 25, 2006.
A native of the Philadelphia area, Papale graduated in 1964 from Interboro High School, where he still holds the outdoor pole vault record. He was a three-sport varsity letter recipient during his senior year for football, basketball and track.
Papale attended St. Joseph’s College from 1964 to 1968, and graduated with a degree in marketing/management science. A recipient of a full athletic scholarship for track and field, he captained the track team during his senior year and was named Most Outstanding Senior Athlete. He still holds the school’s indoor pole vault record.
Papale taught middle school business education in the Interboro School District from 1968 to 1974. During that time, he also served as high school head track and field coach and as an assistant football coach. Papale left Interboro in the spring of 1974 to tryout for the World Football League’s Philadelphia Bell. He made the team as a wide receiver, and played for two seasons before the league folded in 1975.
In 1976, at the age of 30, Papale attended an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles and made the team. Papale became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL, a distinction he still holds. He was with the Eagles for four seasons as a wide receiver, and was voted special teams captain by his teammates. In 1978, Papale was voted Man of the Year by the Eagles for his many charitable activities, and was a finalist for the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, presented annually to the NFL player showing the highest level of community awareness and involvement.
After suffering a career-ending shoulder injury, Papale was retired by the Eagles after the 1979 season and served as a TV and radio broadcaster for eight years. Later, he entered the world of commercial mortgage banking, which led to his present role as a marketing executive and special projects director for Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of education funding.
Papale has served as chairman or co-chairman for a number of organizations, including Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans, the Spina Bifida Association, the Association for Retarded Citizens, Deborah Hospital, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Heart Association. As a cancer survivor, he has also become an advocate for numerous cancer groups. In addition, Papale has worked with the Eagles Fly for Leukemia, the Police Athletic League, the Special Olympics, Maxwell Football Club, the Sunshine Foundation, the Boy Scouts and the Variety Club. Papale has received the Chapel of the Four Chaplain’s Humanitarian Award, the United Way’s Gold Award and the Jaycee’s Distinguished Service Award.
Papale and his wife, the former Janet Cantwell, reside in Cherry Hill, N.J., with their two children, Gabriella and Vincent. Janet is a former member of the USA World Gymnastics team, and has coached and taught gymnastics around the world. They are the only married couple to have been inducted individually into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Chapter.
A Walt Disney Pictures film, Invincible features Mark Wahlberg as Papale; Greg Kinnear as former Eagles coach, Dick Vermeil; Elizabeth Banks as Janet; and, Michael Nouri as former Eagles owner, Leonard Tose. The film was produced by Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, winners of ESPY awards for the films Miracle andThe Rookie, and directed by Ericson Core.