Vince Papale

Vince Papale

  • Former Philadelphia Eagle and NFL football star. The PRIDE of Philadelphia.
  • The subject of blockbuster Disney movie Invincible
  • Author, top motivational speaker, and example of perseverance to every young person

Travels from Pennsylvania

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In 1976 Vince Papale was in his 6th year of teaching at his alma mater, Interboro High School while was working on his master’s degree in counseling and also coaching football and track.  As a 10 year season ticket holder for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles Vince had a dream . . . to be an Eagle.  At the same time the USA was celebrating its bi-centennial birthday.  1976 was a time when Philadelphia fans were buried in 11 years of defeat, when Americans were battling the lingering effects of Watergate, the Vietnam War, and a sweeping energy crisis.  Ordinary people appeared badly in need of a champion from their ranks, and this local schoolteacher/coach answered their call.

The Philadelphia Eagles had hired a passionate and idealistic rookie Head Coach, Dick Vermeil, who boldly announced that he wanted to shake up his new team and publicized that he was going to conduct an open tryout for all comers.  Ignoring all of the nay sayers and doubters Vince not only attended the try out but he was offered a contract on the spot and he got the sweet and ultimate last laugh by making the team.


Re-inventing himself from a 30-year schoolteacher, who did not play football in college, to an NFL star, Vince Papale defied the million to one odds against him.  Not only did he make the team but he was voted by his teammates Captain of the Special Teams and most recently was selected by the fans as the best Special Teamer in the Eagles 75-year history.

He has received numerous awards around the country for his charitable contributions and efforts including the coveted Vince Lombardi Award for Courage for overcoming his bout with colon cancer.  He lends his support to too many charitable organizations to mention but Vince is very proud to note he has had the American Flag flown in his honor over the United States Capitol and by the troops in Afghanistan, whom he considers his heroes!

Vince is the subject of the blockbuster Disney movie, Invincible, which topped the charts for 2 straight weeks after its release in 2006.

Now, in today’s fragile economic times, he continues to respond to the need for a motivating hero who knows what it’s like to battle and overcome adversity. He is regarded as one of the top motivational speakers.  Vince and his wife, Janet, are currently working on their third book, Born to Be Invincible.

Magazine Article Quotes about Vince

“What new coach Dick Vermeil saw impressed him. Papale had speed and sure hands, but most of all, he exemplified what Vermeil calls “Eagle Effort…”. Whenever his name would come up at cut meetings, Vermeil would say no. “He’s a character player,” the coach said. “We need more like him, not less!” Sports Illustrated. Feature Article.

“In the past year, Papale has made more public appearances than the 76’ers Julius Irving, the Phillies’ Mike Schmidt, and the Flyers’ Bobby Clarke, combined. Vince makes Bob Hope look like a recluse.”  Eagles General Manager Jim Murray. NFL Pro Magazine. Feature Article.

Video Clips of Vince

ESPN Special on Vince Papale

Disney’s Invincible movie about Vince trailer –

INVINCIBLE is the inspiring true story of Vince Papale, an ordinary guy who, against extraordinary odds, gets a one-in-a-gazillion shot at living every sports fan’s wildest fantasy. Like the city he lives in and his beloved hometown NFL team, the down-and-out Vince (Mark Wahlberg) has seen better days. But then the Philadelphia Eagles’ new coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) calls an unprecedented open tryout, and the 30-year-old bartender who never played college ball makes the cut. Now Vince needs every bit of his gritty, never-say-die attitude and enormous heart to survive in the high-stakes world of professional football. Heartfelt and triumphant, and filled with body-slamming NFL football action, INVINCIBLE will have you on your feet cheering for the scrappy underdog who helped his team rediscover its winning spirits, and in the process rallied a city when it needed it most.




“From Invisible to Invincible”

One of the biggest hits Vince took was when he found out he had colon cancer. Now “green and clean,” he raptures audiences with his story of his emotional journey on the road to recovery. He also shares with us his having to deal with mental illness in his family when he was a youngster and provides some coping tips. Now a spokesperson for cancer awareness, he wows audiences with his understanding, compassion, and humor when dealing with these life obstacles. From caregiver, to patient, to survivor you will feel ready to tackle any challenge after hearing Vince speak about one of his most passionate causes.



“Educate Yourself into the End Zone”

The untold story in Invincible is that Vince was a full-time teacher and coach at his high school alma mater, working on his master’s degree, when he chased his wildest dream. Vince skillfully weaves his amazing story, with a nice blend of humor and passion, sharing his playbook for success mixing in education as the main ingredient. He relates his “Bucket of Crabs” story of how many of his peers were rooting against him to succeed and how, if it weren’t for his teacher, coach and mentor, he never would have made it. He shows the way for his audience to grasp that “the more you learn the more you earn!” LEADERSHIP


The “Papale Playbook”

In Vince’s energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate style, listeners get glimpses of what it took to go from a season ticket holder to Captain of an NFL Team. He shares his Leadership Playbook with his audience as well as telling stories about the people that impacted him, from some of sports coaching greats to his mentors. He took the opportunity of a lifetime and ran with it… lifting a team looking for a leader and a city starving for a hero. From the bleachers, as a 10-year season ticket holder to the Captain of an NFL Team, Vince relates how it was done with his Papale Playbook and how you can lead others to take it to the next level.


“Hold Fast to Dreams”

Going from being called a loser with no pedigree and no college football experience to Captain of an NFL Team is the stuff that dreams, and movies, are made. Using video clips from Invincible, Disney, and ESPN, Vince, a tremendous story teller, shares his tips on seizing opportunities, overcoming odds, fulfilling potential and taking it to the highest level. His energy, passion and humor will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. He made 2nd effort a part of his personality and got the ultimate last laugh on those who doubted him. He will bring people from tears of sadness to tears of joy and bring them to their feet as they feel his journey is their trip as well.


“Make Your Teams Special”

From Team Building to the morphing of Mark Wahlberg, from a Hollywood to an NFL star, what does it take to get your team to the next level? Not only was Vince an accomplished athlete he was also a successful teacher and coach and he shares with you his training tips for reaching one’s full potential. What does it take to inspire your Team to pay the price to make their goals and dreams come true? Let Vince inspire and train your group to achieve heights never reached before. Strap on your helmet, get your game face on, and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.



“Your enthusiastic presentation and energy helped create an invincible aura, and your involvement with everyone during the entire trip certainly allowed everyone to get to know you both as you were part of the PNC team! I really appreciate the time and effort you spent in preparation, and the personal touch you gave everyone that attended.

 Your personal appearance added a lot of much deserved excitement to our reward assembly.  The book you donated to our library are already a hot commodity.

It’s always nice to know people are committed to helping our schools. You made a difference to the entire VMS family. It is because of people like you that our schools are successful. As Principal of VMS, I am extremely proud to work with such wonderful people in our community.  You help put the pride in “Viking Pride.” Thanks again! Diane Young, Principal, Voorhees Middle School (NJ)

 “…Thanks for an inspiring and motivational speech. You are a true living legend.” U.S. Healthcare/HMO

 “Your opening remarks and presentation were excellent and well-received. It is a pleasure to meet and speak with someone who has participated in professional sports and knows what a privilege it is to be so gifted and motivated to be able to perform. And, not only to perform, but perform as well as you did. Your enthusiasm for sports and life is to be admired.” Union League of Philadelphia.

“Thank you for your help in making our Wellness Day such a success. We really appreciate your participation; it could not have been accomplished without you!” Sterling High School District.

“Thanks to Vince Papale, our annual Notre Dame/Penn State Banquet was a huge success. You have the unique ability to do a quick overview of an audience, and address your remarks appropriately. I received many comments from members of both clubs telling me how they enjoyed your excellent mix of humor, fun, in addition to your more serious side, relative to the remarks you made!” – Notre Dame, Penn State Banquet.

“I will take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution in making the Father and Sons Dinner of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior a great success last Friday. Your presentation was both interesting and inspirational to everyone who was there. Afterwards, I received so many unsolicited favorable comments.” – Father and Sons Dinner

“Your message to our students was loud and clear. Hopefully, it will have a lasting effect. All feedback that I received from students and faculty and staff, concerning the luncheon and assembly was positive. Thanks again for your excellent presentation.” William Penn School District. Student’s Achievement Awards Day

“On behalf of the Board of Managers of the Camden County Unit of the American Cancer Society, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for making the Monsignor Sharkey Roast a great success. The unit is grateful for your commitment to support the educational and patient service programs of the A.C.S.”  American Cancer Society Fund Raiser

“We would like to thank you for being the guest speaker at our SPORTS NIGHT…your time and patience with the (special) athletes is greatly appreciated. We hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we enjoyed having you.” St. John of God Community Services

“On behalf of the students, staff, and administration of Pennsville Memorial High School, I would like to thank you for your motivational dissertation during our day of drug and alcohol awareness. Points that you bring forward are those which all educators share…that being…students have unlimited potential, there are logical systematic approaches to every endeavor, and you must believe in yourself before any success can be realized. Your instructional background and experience with teenagers was very evident during your presentation.”  Pennsville Public School District.

“What else can I say…you were great! I received calls at the house this morning from parents who thought you were super!” I.B.M. Recognition Picnic

“It is refreshing to me to know that there are still people who have achieved celebrity status and who are still willing to take time out of their busy lives for the benefit of area youth. After the banquet, and the days following the same, I received numerous calls and letters about the banquet and everyone was quite impressed with your speech to the kids.” Northampton Indians Football

 “With former Philly Eagle and Philadelphia Bell Vince Papale as emcee, the evening flowed like fine wine.”

“You did a great job speaking at the Cingular meeting last week. The employees are still talking about it…you really inspired the gang and generated a lot of enthusiasm…Everybody was very impressed with your story and how you presented it.” John Caras, AT&T Wireless

“Thank you for your great work on Radio Row at the Super Bowl. You did a tremendous job with all of the interviews, and as always, I appreciated your professionalism and your high-energy level.” Chip Namias–President, Athlete & Event Sports Public Relations.

“Vince Papale brings an enthusiasm, passion and energy to each and every crowd we’ve presented him to. His story is both inspirational and motivational and leaves every group he speaks with uplifted. We are proud to be working with Vince!” Mollie Plotkin & Ellen Barkann–The Philadelphia Sports Group.