In the football scene, the filmmakers actually tried to have the catapult shuttle kick the football off. Unfortunately, the shuttle completely obliterated the ball, forcing a Navy Master Chief to just chuck the ball in the air for the desired shot.
The film is based loosely on the experiences of USAF Captain Scott O'Grady, who was shot down near the town of Mrkonjic Grad in northern Bosnia in June 1995 and was stranded in Serb-held territory for six days before being rescued by US Marines. O'Grady brought a lawsuit down on 20th Century Fox for damages to his character. He claims he didn't curse as much and never disobeyed orders.
In the initial flyby scene of the aircraft carrier the deck crew can be seen standing in a long line across the deck. This is part of the beginning of flight operations as they search for any objects lying around on the flight deck (e.g. flashlights etc.) that could be sucked in the aircrafts intake during takeoff.
In response to Lt. Burnett's request to leave the Navy, Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman) asks him what he's going to do .. "are you gonna fly commercial jets? .. troll the friendly skies in a bus?" "Fly the friendly skies" is a slogan of United Airlines; in the 1990's, Hackman was the principal voice-over artist for United.
According to the beginning of the movie, the Cincinnati Accords ended the war in Bosnia. This treaty is loosely based on the real-life Dayton Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia in late 1995. Ironically, the Cincinnati Accords required NATO forces to withdraw from Bosnia, while the real-life Dayton Agreement allowed a large NATO force to be sent to Bosnia to help ensure the peace deal.
As Master Chief O'Malley (David Keith) leads Lt. Burnett to see Admiral Reigart, Burnett asks him if he caught the University of Tennessee's football game loss the previous Saturday. O'Malley replied, "I don't know anything about that." David Keith graduated from the University of Tennessee.