Vince Papale is an ex American football player who has spent most of his career playing on the position of a wide receiver in the famous NFL football team named Philadelphia Eagles. Its a well-known team and therefore Vince got a lot of attention through it.
His life story is very interesting since he became a football player when he was an adult, so it became the base of an American sports movie from 2006.
He was born as Vincent Francis Papale on February 9, 1946 in a town of Glenolden in the state of Pennsylvania in United States.
His parents are named Almira Sage Papale and Francis J. Papale. Little did they knosw that their son will become a true star and will be able to take care of them. His parents were not wealthy at all and therefore Vincent learned how to live a live in which you are humble and small.
His parents were also involved in sports. The two of them were children of English and Italian immigrants. His dad was a pig farmer, just like his grandad. He cant really speak much Italian and says that it gets worse over time, but he will be trying to work his way back to being fluent.
His mother used to be a big part of his life and she got sick later and Vince’s childhood was harder because of it. He loved her very much and was sad because of her illness. They were all pretty close because they were sort of struggling.
After finishing elementary school he became a student at Interboro High School where he became one of the most divergent athletes in school.He was always proud of his achievments that he had done in various different fields of sport.
He trained football, basketball but was also excelling in track and field. Track and field were at that time his favorite sport. He was a natural talent and many people saw that.
He received All-Delaware County honor for his great year in football. He excelled in a lot of track disciplines, such as long jump and pole vault. His school was very proud of him and they were quick to put him on each cover of their magazine.
It was in his senior year that he started competing in track and won a Philadelphia District Championship in the pole vault category and this sent him to the state championship which was a big success for him. He made it to the 4th place at the championship.
His best pole vault result brought him the priviledge to be in Top 10 All Time high school pole vaulters.
After finishing high school, Vince joined Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia which he entered easily due to the track scholarship he received. He was never much of a straigh-As student, but he always worked hard.
Saint Joseph’s University didn’t have a football team but had a great track and field team. He was the winner of many championships and as a junior he was a winner of US Track & Field Federation event.
The reason why any college didn’t offer football scholarship to Papale although he was training for one year and was excellent is because Vince was quite short and slim then and nobody saw him as a football player.
He was one feet taller and 25 pounds heavier just a few years after high school. He was very proud of his growth and decided that his next step would be to enter the world of captains.
In his senior year he was the captain of the university’s track team.
During his time in college, he won several championships in the University Division.
It was in 1968 that he graduated and gained his degree in Marketing and Management. Since he was very good at track he couldn’t continue his career there because he had to be excellent in it due the big competition in this field.
That is why, after finishing college, Vince became a teacher and also a coach of the Junior football team at Interboro High School which he finished himself.
Eventually, his position as the coach of the football team his brought him a chance to try out for Philadelphia Bell football team on the position of wide receiver.
He had to lie about his years: he said that he was 24 years but he was really 28 years when they took him into their team. He knew they would never let him to try out because he was too old.
In his two seasons with the Philadelphia Bell he had good results so he was invited on a meeting with the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles named Dick Vermeil.
At the age of 30 he became the oldest rookie to be received in the NFL, especially him who didn’t have any experience in college football because he was a track and field athlete.
From 1976 to 1978 he played on the position of a wide receiver for Philadelphia Eagles and showed off some great skills. He was noticed very soon and many people wanted to know who he was and how was he getting so much attention so quickly.
He played for the special team and was named as the “Man of the Year” in 1978 because he was involved in a lot of charity events. He was always trying to help people in need and the community because he wanted to help the ones that are not so lucky.
In 1978 he ended his career because of a serious injury of his shoulder. This was a sad moment for him since he felt like there was much more to accomplish. However, he said that it was probably faith that brought the trouble his way
After leaving NFL and his wide receiver position he became a broadcaster for TV and radio. He did it for eight years after which he started his career as a mortgage banker. This was a way for him to stay in contact with all of his viewers and his fans, without being on the field.
Papale became more famous after he became the subject of a Disney movie titled “Invincible” where he was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.
During the period he played for the Eagles he gained his nickname “Rocky”, after the known character Rocky from the same movie with Sylvester Stallone in the starring role.
In 2001, he was diagnosed with a serious disease, a colorectal cancer which he successfully cured but which showed him how it is necessery to take care of your own health.
After recovering from it he started raising awareness about this disease and starred in comercials where he encouraged people to test for colorectal cancer. It was something he wasn’t ashamed of but thought to be the right thing to do.
Vince Papale always wanted to help people in need so he has served as chairman of Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans and Multiple Sclerosis Society, trying to make a difference. The family was also involved in Eagle’s Fly for Leukemia
Vince lives in Cherry Hill, in New Jersey and is currently working as the regional CEO for Student Loan Marketing Association.
He is married to his loving wife Janet and has two children with her.
They are named Gabriella and Vinny. Vinny continued his father’s steps so he plays on the same position of a wide receiver for the Blue Hens of the University of Delaware.
He was in a short marriage with a woman named Sharon when he was young. They divorced in 1971.
From 1977 until 1984 he was married to Sandy Bianchini.
Ten years later he married Janet and they are still together.
He has a sister named Janice and they are very close.
His wife Janet was also an athlete and a great gymnast. She is inducted in the Sports Hall of Fame Pennsylvannia alongside her husband Vince Papala.
After the success of the movie Vincent decided to publish his memoirs and he named them: “Invincible: My Journey from Fan to NFL Team Captain”.
He and his wife Janet published a book together: “Be Invincible” which is a help book. The book had good sales. The book itself gained pretty good reviews and they made some money thanks to it.
Full name: Vincent Francis Papale
Date of birth: February 9, 1946
Birthplace: Glenolden, Pennsylvania, United States
Profession: former football wide receiver, teacher, coach, marketing expert, writer
Height: 1,88 m
Weight: 88 kg
Net Worth: $1,5 million