The speech stating "whichever bowl we accept, we will be National Champions if we win" was a moot point. The 1959 National Championship was awarded prior to the Bowl Games. The final regular season game against UCLA, which had just beat #4 USC, earned them the National Championship. The movie pays no attention to that game (which was broadcast on national TV) except to show the post-game celebration.
During the Syracuse v. West Virginia game, one of the props in the back of the end zones has a Flying WV logo from the 1970s. At the time, West Virginia's logo was the letters WVU diagonally through the state on a gold ribbon.
When Ernie and Jack are running through town, a maroon customized 1953 Ford two-door wagon in the background has black-tinted rear windows and 1990s billet-design wheels. It's obviously a modern custom vehicle.
At the end of the movie, Ernie Davis mails a letter to the Saturday Evening Post. The address clearly says "Indianapolis, IN". Until 1971, The Saturday Evening Post was published by the Curtis Publishing Company, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The big bonus check Art Modell presents to Ernie Davis, and the letter Davis mails to the editor of the Saturday Evening Post, contain addresses with ZIP codes. They were introduced to the public in 1963, a few weeks after Davis died. Before that, city addresses had zone numbers (ex. Cleveland 14, O.).
In July 1950, Ernie, Will, and his grandpa watch Jackie Robinson hit a home run on television. The announcer states that it's Robinson's 12th home run of the season. Robinson hit his 12tth home run on September 24th, 1950.
During the West Virginia football game, Ernie Davis gets hit out of bounds and is lying on the sideline. The football announcer states Davis is hurt lying prone (face down) on the field when the scene shows him lying face-up.
At the very start of the movie, during the huddle of the first play during the Texas game, the quarterback calls a Shovel Pass. When the play is run, it's a direct hand-off to Ernie Davis, not the shovel pass that was called.
When Jack Buckley and Ernie Davis are walking into the dance, JB is complaining about the Syracuse newspaper article declaring Pete Dawkins of Army as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. The camera pans to the newspaper, which reveals a two-lined stacked headline above a three-column width article that has a column-width photo centered below the header. The shot zooms in for a close-up, but now the headline is one line and the photo is two columns wide with the byline to the right of the photo.
When Ernie Davis first sees the stadium at his college, the sky is filled with cumulus clouds. By the time he gets there, the sky is nearly cloudless, and much duller. Obviously the scene was shot on a different day.
In the movie, Texas leads Syracuse 15-14 in the 1960 Cotton Bowl. In real life, the game was never that close in the second half. Syracuse was up 23-6 when Texas scored their second and last touchdown with 7:39 remaining in the game. Texas was not in a position to tie Syracuse even with a touchdown and 2-point conversion.
When the Syracuse team is going to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, several shots show the team on one bus with empty seats. No college football team could fit on one bus. By the 1960s, football and basketball teams routinely flew to far-off game sites.
In the movie, the team is told outside the Cotton Bowl that the hotel where the banquet is held will not allow the team's black players to attend, and the team decides to skip the banquet and go for barbecue. In real life, the entire team, including the black players, attended the banquet awards ceremonies. Once the awards were over, the team was informed that the three black players could not stay for the dinner or dancing. The team stood up and left the banquet before dinner began. Afterward, two different establishments hosted them for dinner.
At the end of the movie, Ernie Davis is introduced with the Browns before their preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, wearing his Cleveland Browns uniform. In real life, owner Art Modell wanted Ernie introduced in his uniform, but Coach Paul Brown wouldn't allow it because Ernie wasn't officially on Cleveland's roster. According to John Brown, his former Syracuse and Browns teammate and best friend, "That night, he had on his skinny tie, tweed jacket, and nice shirt."
The night game played versus West Virginia University is fiction. West Virginia's stadium did not have lights until two years after the movie took place. Plus, the movie is set in a year when the West Virginia v. Syracuse game was played at Syracuse.
In the movie, after Ernie Davis comes back into the game, Syracuse pulls away for the win on an 87-yard touchdown catch and run by Davis. In real life, the 87-yard catch and run occurred on the 3rd play (from scrimmage) of the game, on the second down and 27 after a holding penalty on Syracuse.
At the end of the movie, when Ernie Davis is introduced with the team in Cleveland's August 18th, 1962 preseason game, the opposing team is the Chicago Bears. In real life, they played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second game of the NFLs' first doubleheader. The first game was the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.