Legendary NFL Player, Cancer Survivor, and
Inspiration for the Movie Invincible
A middle school teacher and part-time bartender, Vince Papale left his hometown of Interboro, Pennsylvania in the spring of 1974 to try out for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League. He made the team as a wide receiver and played for them for two seasons. In 1976, at the age of 30, Vince tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles, made the team, and became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. He still holds that record today. Mr. Papale was with the Eagles for four seasons as a wide receiver and was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates. A shoulder injury ended his career in 1979. Mr. Papale was voted “Man of the Year” by the Eagles in 1978 for his many charitable activities.
After retiring with the Eagles after the 1979 season, he was a TV and radio broadcaster for 8 years. Vince then entered the world of commercial mortgage banking which led to his present position as a Marketing Executive & Special Projects Director for Sallie Mae, the nation’s number one student financial aid company.
Track & Field Star
Mr. Papale’s athletic prowess was evident in his high school days. A graduate of Interboro High School (1964), he was a three sport Varsity Letter winner senior year in football, basketball & track. He still holds the high school Outdoor Pole Vault record.
Mr. Papale attended St. Joseph’s College from 1964 to 1968 and graduated with an MS Degree in Marketing/Management Science. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship for Track and Field. His Senior Year he captained the Track Team and was recipient of the Most Outstanding Senior Athlete. He holds the Indoor Pole Vault record for college athletes.
After college, Vince taught Middle School Business Education at Interboro School District from 1968 to 1974. He also served as High School Head Coach for Track and Field and was Assistant Football Coach.
In 2006, a movie about Vince Papale called Invincible was released by Walt Disney Pictures. It features Mark Wahlberg as Papale, Greg Kinnear as former Eagles Coach Dick Vermeil, and Elizabeth Banks as Janet.
Vince co-wrote the book, Invincible: My Journey from Fan to NFL Team Captain, with Chad Millman about his story that inspired the Disney motion picture. His book fills in the details of his inspirational story.
A survivor of colorectal cancer, Vince was the 2007 recipient of the Lombardi Symbol of Caring Award for making extraordinary strides in encouraging cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy. He continues to be a highly sought speaker on issues concerning cancer awareness and prevention.
Mr. Papale is married to the former Janet Cantwell. They reside in Cherry Hill, NJ with their two children, Gabriella and Vincent. Janet is a former member of the USA World Gymnastics team and has coached and taught gymnastics all over the world. They are the only married couple to have been inducted individually into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
HIGHER LEARNING & EDUCATION: "Educate Yourself Into the Endzone"
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.
INSPIRATION/MOTIVATION: "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.
TEAM BUILDING: “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.
HEALTH & WELLNESS: “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.
Vince Papale was the best speaker we have had present at a Kades-Margolis function over our 35 year history. His Invincible Message about Living Our Dreams was incredible and the way he took the time to customize his message to our organization made it a smashing success.
- | Kades-Margolis
“…Thanks for an inspiring and motivational speech. You are a true living legend.”
- | U.S. Healthcare/HMO
May I take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of Deborah for your gracious giving to our humanitarian effort. We are privileged to consider you a member of the Deborah family and making a reality of the words…” “Deborah—where healing comes from the heart.”
- | Deborah Hospital Foundation
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