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Retired football player, Vince Papale, was born on February 9, 1946 in Glenolden, Pennsylvania. Papale played three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles following two seasons with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League. Papale was the inspiration for the 2006 movie Invincible.
In 1974, Papale successfully tried out for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League as a wide receiver. Papale caught nine passes for 121 yards, 13.4 average.
Papale's performance with that team earned him a meeting with Coach Dick Vermeil of the Philadelphia Eagles after general manager Jim Murray got him an invitation to a private work-out held by Coach Vermeil.
Vince Papale eventually made the team, thereby becoming, at age 30, the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL to play without the benefit of college football experience (other than 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 44 regular season games (regular seasons being 14 games in 1976-1977 and 16 games in 1978) recording two fumble recoveries, (including one that led to Vermeil's first NFL victory), and one 15-yard reception. He was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates and "Man of the Year" by the Eagles in 1978 for his many charitable activities. A shoulder injury ended his career in 1979. After retiring from the NFL, he worked as a TV and radio broadcaster for eight years, then became a commercial mortgage banker.
Papale, who earned the nickname "Rocky" (after the 1976 Sylvester Stallone movie and character) while playing with the Eagles, is the subject of the Disney movie Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg. He was also reportedly the inspiration for the 1998 Tony Danza movie, The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon. In addition, Papale's legend was cited as a factor in the Eagles' signing of construction-foreman/tight-end Jeff Thomason for 2005's Super Bowl XXXIX.
Diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2001, Vince Papale has recovered from the disease, to become a spokesman encouraging people to get regular check-ups. He has appeared in commercials for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital encouraging others to be tested.
Currently, Vince 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, and remains a diehard Philadelphia Eagles football fan.