The Unembellished Story of Vince Papale

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2009

Vincent Francis Papale was born February 9, 1946, in Glenolden, PA.

He attended Interboro High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and field.

In his only year of playing varsity football, Papale won All-Delaware County Honorable Mention honors.

He began competing in track during his senior year at Interboro, where he was a standout as a pole vaulter, triple jumper, and long jumper.

Papale won the District-I Large-Schools Championship for the Philadelphia Suburban Area in pole vault, and finished fourth overall in state competitions. His best pole vault that year was 12'9", which placed him in the top 10 all-time Pennsylvania High School Vaulters of that time.

Papale attended St. Joseph's College (University) in Philadelphia on a track scholarship, as the university did not have a football team.

Papale graduated St. Joseph's in 1968 with a MS degree in Marketing/Management Science.

In 1974, while bartending at Monkster's Club in Prospect Park and substitute teaching at Interboro High School, he successfully tried out for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League (an integral piece Disney's Invincible left out) as a wide receiver. He caught nine passes for 121 yards; an average of 13.4 yards after catch.

His overall performance with that team earned him a meeting with the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil. Afterwards GM Jim Murray gave him an invitation to a private workout hosted by Vermeil.

Papale eventually made the team, thereby becoming the oldest rookie in NFL history, at 30 years old, without having played a down of football in college.

He went on to play wide receiver and on special teams for the Eagles from 1976 to 1978. During that time, he played in 41 of 44 regular season games, recording two fumble recoveries, and a 15-yard reception.

Papale was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates, and was the Eagles "Man of the Year" in 1978 for his charitable contributions.

Sadly, Papale's career was ended in 1979 by a shoulder injury.

After retiring from the NFL, he worked in the field of radio and television broadcasting for eight years, then became a commercial mortgage banker.

Papale is currently the Regional Director of Marketing and Senior Account Executive for Sallie Mae.

He resides with his wife Janet and two children, Gabriella and Vincent, in Cherry Hill, NJ. Papale, a diehard fan of Philadelphia Eagles football, is listed as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.

Take that, Disney!


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