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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Next Vince Papale Story?

Most of you don't remember Vince Papale, and there really isn't any reason you should unless, of course, you were a Philadelphia Eagles' fan during the Dick Vermeil era. Papale was a back-up wide receiver, but his claim to fame was that he was a Philadelphia native who had played semi-pro ball (perhaps for the Frankford Yellow Jackets, who, a long time ago, were in the first tier of professional football), who didn't play football in college because his college (St. Joe's University) didn't have a football team, and who had worked construction for a time. He was the real Philadelphia guy, Rocky in a football uniform. He got more press than his play or playing time warranted, but he helped form the character of a gritty Super Bowl team.

The modern-day Papale for this Philadelphia Eagles team probably is Jeff Thomason. If you ask, "who on earth is Jeff Thomason?" and you are a diehard Eagles fan, you'd still have a point. After all, Thomason has been out of football for a few years, last playing with the Bengals (he played a few seasons with the Eagles; his last was in 2002). If you said, "hey, wait a minute, he's not even on the Eagles' roster," you'd still have a point, at least until now.

You'd be right if you said that during the Atlanta game the Eagles had three tight ends on the roster, Chad Lewis, L.J. Smith and Mike Bartrum, who is also the Birds' long-snapper. As you know, Lewis hurt his foot badly in the Falcons game, needs surgery and will miss the Super Bowl. The Eagles need a third tight end, and Andy Reid indicated yesterday that they were going to sign one.

Enter Jeff Thomason. His current job -- managing a construction site for Toll Brothers in New Jersey. Is he in shape? Read the article that I've linked to. Apparently he is.

For Thomason, this is a great story, and my guess is that at least internally Toll Brothers will milk this for all that it's worth, under the category, "See what our employees do with their leaves of absence?" In a sense, he's the latest Rocky, or, perhaps, just an unemployed football player who won the ultimate lottery -- getting a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

For many football players, the transition from professional football to the real working world is a difficult one. The problems of many former players have been well chronicled publicly, and when interviewed, almost all, if not all, former players say that they'd play again in a heartbeat if they could. How many of them watch the games on Sundays chomping at the bit to get out there, only to know that their age or health prevents them from doing so. How many would just love to play that one more game, make that one big hit, catch that one big pass?

Most of them, I think.

And now Jeff Thomason is carrying the flag for all of those former football players everywhere. The ex-player who gets that one more chance to shine, and, this time, on the ultimate stage.

He just has to be careful that he remains a good story. You'll recall several years ago, the Giants had a playoff against the 49ers, and their regular long-snapper was hurt. They signed 35 year-old Trey Junkin, the one-time TE out of Duke who had long-snapped for more than ten years in his career (but who had been out of football), and his bad long-snaps help cost the Giants the playoff game (it also didn't help that their defense suffered one of the all-time collapses in NFL history). Still, to this day, Trey Junkin will not be remembered for his long career, but for his problematic long snaps in a key game.

Andy Warhol spoke of people getting their fifteen minutes of fame. For Jeff Thomason, it will be about 15 days worth (and he won't be long-snapping, as Bartrum still holds that job).

Little did Jeff Thomason know that when he was watching the Eagles play the Falcons on TV on Sunday, that he would be flying with them two days later.

As the ultimate wingman.

64 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im not a fan of your team, but I remember V P courage..o yea I dont consider Mcnab a super bowl quarterback or your team a champion ship team

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember him as well.. He had an
inpiraltional story that was fun to
follow..
Hey anonymous as a big Philadelphia
Fan the only thing I can say to you
is who cares what you think

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are idiots
I HATE THE EAGLES!!!!!!!!

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I wanted to say is the eagles suck because of slowitz 22

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all idiots. I HATE EAGLES AND WHO EVER COMMENTED ON THIS PAGE!!!!. DALLAS COWBOYS IN THE HOUSE.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

You suck!!! I'm a diehard Eagles fan. Lived here all my life. All I got to say is "E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!!!"

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

c'mon, this is about personal achievment. Not about who sucks.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i guess the next movie will be the michael lewis story for the saints "the beer man" didn't play college ball either and he actually made a difference in the nfl. maybe disney needed to look at him to get a real story about the common man making the nfl

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a cool story for the every guy to make it to the nfl but as far as Eagle Fans they are the biggest scumbags to ever sit in the stands who needs a jail in the stadium Philly that's WHO !

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The eagles suck because of the are scared of the panthers. There you go I said it. Steve Smith will run all over them.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eagles will win the division this year. The reason being that the Cowboys are a has been team. Why don't you guy's create some talent and stop buying old stars and coaches. Real pride your team has paying a jerk that danced on your logo, atleast Elway a stand up player told Denver to stay away from him. And if your a panthers fan, why are you even at this site?

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story!! Reminds me when my buddy Neal Guggemos from tiny Winsted, MN make the pros for a few years. Gotta love it when a local underdog makes it to the big time!!

Peace out!!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous --SBK--|B|W said...

Go Cowboys! Nice film though, saw it tonight... Glad to see how good he did, a guy with a big heart...

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really loved "Invincible," I saw it opening night. I actually live about 10 minutes away from Vince Papale, and I even took out my college loan from his company, Sallie Mae. I've been an Eagles fan since birth, basically, and I'm so glad that this movie was made. There was literally a standing ovation when the credits came on. I wonder how the movie will do in other cities though. I can't imagine it doing really well in Dallas or New York, but hopefully people will realize that this movie is about the heart and determination of a player, not whose team is better. To be honest, if this movie was about a player on the Giants or Cowboys, I would go see it if I knew it was good. I suppose I'm a bit biased, having practically grown up in Philadelphia, but "Invincible" is an inspirational movie, and I highly reccommend it to anyone - whether you're an Eagles fan or not.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw this movie tonight and everybody in the theater loved it, including myself. it's a great movie no matter where you live. and by the way, i live in Dallas.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Invincible" is truly chicken soup for the soul. Hats off to Disney for pursuing stories of true inspiration, heart, and character. Papale's determination to pursue self actualization and Vermeil's clairvoyant perception in granting Papale an opportunity are indeed universal virtues that all mankind can admire and adorn.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Invincible" is truly chickensoup for the soul. Hats off to Disney for pursuing stories of true inspiration, heart, and character. Papale's determination to pursue self actualization and Vermeil's clairvoyant perception in granting Papale an opportunity are indeed universal virtues that all mankind can admire and adorne to obtain.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

although it is a good movie it is not accurate. i was disapointed to find out that he actually played for the world football league before.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a life long Dallas Cowboy fan. I thought VP, Is what Eagles fans should embrace in there history and same goes with Dick V. I remeber him and another guy who I think was the nephew of some coach his name was louie Giammona ( spelling, sorry). Anyways any football fan who wants to see a movie about why FOOTBALL ia the greatest sport see this movie.
Congrats VP, You were the real Rocky. And the movie depicts the Cowboys accuratley in the 70s. Big and domminating !
Go Cowboys

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a great movie but i hate the eagles because i love the big blue!!!!!! The people in New Jersey love the movie.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys, how would you feel? Vince Papale is amazing.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...

What a great movie! Saw it today with my 5 year old, 7 year old and 24 year old - there's something for everyone. Thanks to the studio for making the big decision to keep it a "PG" movie.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the big deal, the guy made 1 rec. for 15 yards in 4 years.. If you want to see a real hero look at Jesus, the guy died on a cross for all our sins!

10:05 AM  
Blogger eaglesfan93 said...

wow you are so gay anonomus noone cares what u think the cowboys suck u front running piece of trash so shut ur mouth and the eagles rock!!

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha all you Dallas fans who post here to talk smack are LOSERS!!!

Get a job, and a life.

Great movie for any football fan (except loser Dallas fans who can't see past the 70's and troll websites just to talk smack) even though the open tryouts weren't really how the Eagles found Vince. Heck I don't think they ever happened but of course that's why it's called a docu-drama and not just a documentary.

And what a great guy to learn about. Vince Papali has down more for the community than any Cowboy Fan could ever hope to accomplish in ten of their loser lifetimes. Not to mention that he singlehandedly gave Vermiel his first NFL win. Vermiel is no walk in the park with what he did in both Philly and St Louis so being a key player in how it all started for Vermiel carries a high value too.

On the surface, pro sports is about winning. But deeper down each team is a part of its community and what it gives in the area of hope, inspiration, distraction/escape, and contributions to and the promotion of social causes is an intangible value in our lives.

This is why loser Dallas fans make their immature hateful posts here. They know their team can't measure up to this great story which tells about how an individual gave so much hope to so many people during hard times through something as base as the will to win.

Raider Fan

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the eagles will go 0-6 in the division.take that to the bank.NY GIANTS BABY

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It don't matter what team you are for, it was a great movie regardless.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marky-Mark played an everyday guy who became a rock-star, and now, an NFL football player. I wonder what he'll do next. I think he did a great job. The movie had a good 70's feel. Not many movies can achieve that feeling. It's a great movie for the kids to watch, truly inspirational, no matter where you hang your helmet. True football fans love the game, not just the teams.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous old fart said...

a great movie and inspirational. my wife, who doesnt care much for football, came away impressed. sorry that those who insert their hatred for the Eagles into their comments... you are missing the point of this movie. I was also surprised to learn that he had in fact played two years for the defunct Philadelphia Bell, but then again its based on a great story line

4:31 PM  
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1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOOO eagles suck! Us over on the western side of PA hate philly. yunz better know who the real champs are, Here we go STEELERS! XL Champs!!

6:13 PM  
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11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi to the EAGLES fans. That was a great movie and no one should talk trash about it. I am a DOLPHINS fan and I loved the movie. Also to all those GIANTS fans and COWBOY fans, it's really sad and sick that you would use this page to put your immature comments about the EAGLES. The fact is, this movie wasn't about just the EAGLES it was about people overcoming. Also the one guy who wrote about Vince Papale wasn't JESUS, yea your write but no is and you sound like a sad and demented little boy who needs his mother. This movie wasn't about JESUS or if he measured up to him. Yes JESUS is the greatest to ever walk this earth.

I wish you COWBOY fans and GIANTS fans would grow up and start acting like men. What have you done for society. I hope you feel real low putting down someone who has given so much to people. I said my peace, thanks for your time.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi to the EAGLES fans. That was a great movie and no one should talk trash about it. I am a DOLPHINS fan and I loved the movie. Also to all those GIANTS fans and COWBOY fans, it's really sad and sick that you would use this page to put your immature comments about the EAGLES. The fact is, this movie wasn't about just the EAGLES it was about people overcoming. Also the one guy who wrote about Vince Papale wasn't JESUS, yea your write but no is and you sound like a sad and demented little boy who needs his mother. This movie wasn't about JESUS or if he measured up to him. Yes JESUS is the greatest to ever walk this earth.

I wish you COWBOY fans and GIANTS fans would grow up and start acting like men. What have you done for society. I hope you feel real low putting down someone who has given so much to people. I said my peace, thanks for your time.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just rented the movie and it was awesome. I did notice that the movie failed to mention VP played Cananadian Foottball for 2 years. None-the-less, very inspirational story!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous eagles fan said...

loved the movie thought it was great....even better seeing it as an eagles fan...cowboy and giants fans are haters and if this movie was about anyone from their squad they would love it

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow i saw the movie just the other day in my classroom!! my teacher thought it would inspire my grade so the movie really does influence people. and i am a jets fan and i still loved the movie! however..... GO JETS!!

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great inspirational movie. Loved it. Was also disappointed when I found out he played football before. GO BEARS!!!

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did he play in the World Football league? I cannot find that. I read he played semi-pro and no I hear that he played pro before the eagles? They dont mention anything about that in the short about him on the DVD

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am 52 years old and a long time dallas fan! the story of vince papaldi is an an inspiration to all football fans. i wish him well! let's not be childish and classless, give the man his due! he earned our repect and deserves it. as do all nfl players.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He rocks I watched the movie it was good but it could of been longer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7:06 PM  
Anonymous hue_gorgan said...

HI IM NOT A FAN OF ANY TEAM (AUSSIE) BUT SEEN THE FILM AND IT WAS ALRIGHT IF HE HAS PLAYED THE GAME BEFORE ITS NOT REALLY THE BEST STORY BUT IT IS INSPIRATIONAL
(GO AUSSIE RULES)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As a life long Dallas Cowboy fan. I thought VP, Is what Eagles fans should embrace in there history and same goes with Dick V. I remeber him and another guy who I think was the nephew of some coach his name was louie Giammona ( spelling, sorry). Anyways any football fan who wants to see a movie about why FOOTBALL ia the greatest sport see this movie.
Congrats VP, You were the real Rocky. And the movie depicts the Cowboys accuratley in the 70s. Big and domminating !
Go Cowboys"

Louie Giammona (my father) is Dick Vermiels nephew just FYI...Thats why their from the same background but not why Louie was drafted...he was drafted cause he played hard and had heart!

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