In the Giants game, when Mark Wahlberg is running down the sideline in special teams coverage, a Giants player hits him hard and knocks him down. This Giants player was a football player at the nearby University of Delaware, and was not supposed to contact Wahlberg, let alone knock him down. As a result of this, the player was told to leave the set, but the scene was kept.
Vince Papale's real children make cameos in the film. His son, Vincent, Jr., runs out in front of Mark Wahlberg's car to pick up a football, wearing the homemade number 83 jersey. His daughter Gabriella is the quarterback in the kid's football game and throws the ball to her brother, Vincent, Jr.
Although listed as Wide Receiver, Vince Papale played almost exclusively on Special Teams. The only reception in his career came in 1977 on a fifteen yard pass from Roman Gabriel. This would be the final pass ever thrown by Gabriel who was a four-time Pro Bowler, and the 1969 NFL Most Valuable Player.
Vince Papale is actually a native of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. His home, the High School at which he taught, and the bar in which he worked, are all located in the towns of Glenolden and Prospect Park, respectively. Disney executives decided on making Papale from South Philadelphia, as this more neatly fit the script, and was more easily identifiable to a national audience. He taught at Interboro High School, located on Amosland Avenue, Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. The bar in which he worked, is now called "Pogue Mahones," located on Chester Pike in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania.
The stadium that was used to depict the Eagles 1976 home of Veteran's Stadium was in fact the previous Eagles home stadium from 1958-1970, Franklin Field. Veteran's Stadium had been imploded in 2004 prior to the movie's production. While the shots of the exterior were CGI, the interior shots were filmed at Franklin Field. It can be recognized by the jogging track surrounding the field and bench seating rather than individual seats like at Veteran Stadium.
In November of 2002, NFL Films showed Vince Papale's story on ESPN during Monday Night Football. It was part of a special to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Rocky (1976). The four minute piece about Vince captured the attention of Hollywood, and soon a film was in the works.
A common misconception is that the film is missing a primary character, specifically Philadelphia Eagles veteran QB #7 Ron Jaworski. But Jaworski was still on the Los Angeles Rams during this time frame. Jaworski was not traded to the Eagles until March of 1977.
The summer training camp scenes were filmed at Central High School in North Philadelphia. The surrounding buildings and field were fixed up to give the appearance of the Eagles real training camp location in 1976, Widener University.
Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista were highly enamored with the production given the exponential popularity of the National Football League. The production was given a green-light secondary to the belief that Vince Papale's timeless story, like that of Notre Dame walk-on Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger or the New York Jets undrafted walk-on Wayne Chrebet, would transcend a regional demographic and be a success at the box-office in the domestic market.
In the game scene at Texas Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles actually come out of the Dallas Cowboy home tunnel and are on the actual Dallas Cowboy home sidelines. This was done due to the sunlight coming in from the top of the stadium and affecting the cameras. You'll notice that on-screen, the Dallas Cowboys have tremendous amount of sun on their sidelines, where as the Eagles don't.
The fans (hired as extras by Who's Nuts Production Co.) in the stands at Texas Stadium, only filled up about two sections on the lower level, during filming in October 2005. In the final film, the stands appear filled, thanks to CGI.
Early in the movie, after Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) is interviewed by the local sports host in front of the bar, he goes running to get in shape for Eagles training camp. If you look closely, you will notice that he runs under the El Train along Kensington Avenue. There is a green street sign above him that says "Tusculum Street". This is noteworthy, as Sylvester Stallone, in Rocky (1976), lived on the same block of Tusculum and Kensington Avenue in Philadelphia. Although supposedly set in South Philadelphia, the actual filming of Vince Papale's house and bar, was in the Kensington neighborhood.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The climactic touchdown that Vince Papale scores against the Giants, off the fumbled punt, is based on a real play. The actual play can be seen during a montage in the closing credits. However, Papale was not awarded a touchdown for his effort. The referees called the play a "muff", not a fumble, and thus the ball cannot be advanced beyond the drop.