During the Syracuse V. West Virginia game the Flying WV logo is pictured on one of the props in the back of the end zones was not actually created until Don Nehlan's term as Head Coach at WVU. Don Nehlan created the icon in the early 70s after a few years into his tenure. West Virginia's symbol in those days were the letters WVU diagonally through the state on a gold ribbon.
When Ernie and Jack are running through town, there is a maroon customized 1953 Ford two-door wagon. the rear windows are tinted black and the wheels are a 1990s billet design. Obviously a modern custom vehicle.
At the end of the movie Davis mails a letter to the Saturday Evening Post. The address clearly says "Indianapolis, IN". At the time of his death (1963), the Saturday Evening Post was published by the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Saturday Evening Post wasn't published in Indianapolis, Indiana, until 1971.
In the big bonus check Modell presents to Davis, as well as the letter Davis mails to the editor at the Saturday Evening Post, the addresses contain ZIP codes. ZIP codes were not introduced to the public until 1963, a few weeks after Davis died. Prior to July 1963, the Post Office used zone numbers (for example, Cleveland 14, O.).
In July 1950, Ernie, Will, and his grandpa watch Jackie Robinson hit a home run on television. The announcer states that the homer is Robinson's 12th of the season. In reality, Robinson's 12th didn't come until September 24th, over two months later.
When Davis first sees the stadium at his college, the sky is filled with cumulus (fair weather) clouds. By the time he gets there, the sky is nearly cloudless, and much duller; obviously the scene was shot on a different day.
At the end of the movie when Davis runs out on the field at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, he is actually running out onto a computer generated version of Wrigley Field in Chicago. The movie uses a computer generated stadium for the games at Syracuse, but did not computer generate Cleveland Stadium.
In the 1960 Cotton Bowl game, the movie showed Texas pulling within one point of Syracuse, 15 - 14. While this added drama, the game was never that close in the second half. Syracuse was up 23-6 when Texas scored their second and last TD with 7:39 remaining in the game. Being up 9 points also means that the climatic scene at the end of the game would have been a moot point. Texas was not in a position to tie Syracuse even with a TD and 2 point conversion.
Enroute to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, the Syracuse team is shown in several shots as riding in one bus, and with empty seats no less. No college football team could fit in one bus, and by the 1960s football and basketball teams routinely were flying to game sites especially for distances as great as between Syracuse, NY, and Dallas, Texas.
The movie shows the team being notified 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 Barbeque. Fact is the team attended the banquet awards ceremonies (including the three Black players). Once the awards were over, the team was informed that the three black players could not stay for the dinner or dance festivities. The team then stood up and left the banquet before dinner began. They actually were hosted dinner at two different establishments after leaving.
At the end of the movie when Ernie Davis is introduced with the team before Cleveland's preseason game (with the Pittsburgh Steelers), he is shown wearing his Cleveland Browns uniform. In reality, Davis was introduced to the crowd and was not in uniform. 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". 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 and therefore not entitled to wear it.
After Davis comes back into the game in the movie, Syracuse then pulls away for the win on an 87 yard touchdown catch and run by Davis. Fact is the 87 yd catch and run occurred on the 3rd play (from scrimmage) of the game on 2 down and 27 after a holding penalty on Syracuse.
At the very start of the movie, in the huddle of the first play the audience witnesses during the Texas game, you can clearly hear the quarterback say the play and he says it is a Shovel Pass, but when the play is run it is in fact a direct hand off to Ernie Davis, not the shovel pass that was called.
During the West Virginia football game 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 in fact the scene shows him lying in a SUPINE (face up)position.
The night game played versus West Virginia University is a fictional account. West Virginia's stadium did not have lights until two years after the movie took place. Additionally, in the year that the movie takes place the West Virginia vs Syracuse game was played at Syracuse.
The National Championship in 59 was awarded prior to the Bowl Games, so the speech about "whichever bowl we accept we will be National Champions if we win" was a moot point. It was just about defending the pollster's choice at that point. It was the final regular season game against UCLA (which just beat #4 USC) that earned them the National Championship. The movie pays no attention to this game (which was broadcast on national TV) except to show the post game celebration.
At the end of the movie when Davis is introduced with the team in Cleveland's August 18th, 1962 preseason game, the opposing team shown is the Chicago Bears. In reality it was the Pittsburg Steelers and was the second game of a doubleheader, the NFL's first. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys played in the first game of the doubleheader.
Before the 1961 Heisman Award ceremony, there is stock footage of Broadway with Stalag 17 on a movie marquee. Stalag 17 was released in 1953, 8 years earlier. Manhattan has movie theaters which regularly screen popular older films.